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Printed in the United States of America 

First American Edition Printed September, 1918 

Reprinted March, August, December, 1919; March, 1920; June, 1921; 

November, 1922 

A . 



THESE leaves are of Australian growth. It is both 
unnecessary and impossible to disguise it. The 
breath of the bush is on them. There were, how- 
ever, so many who found them good, either for 
food or for medicine, in these Britains of the South, 
that it was suggested that the plant might survive 
the ordeal of transplantation to a northern clime. 
England is a land of noble hospitalities. And, 
after all, men are built pretty much the same way 
all the world over. A thing that is true under these 
soft southern skies is no less true where northern 
constellations burn. A word that wakens thought 
beneath the shadow of the wattle may lead a man 
to rub his eyes under a spreading English oak. A 
message that brings back the smile of courage to 
the bronzed face of a disheartened squatter may re- 
lieve a bruised spirit in London's central roar. And 
so I venture ! I only hope that I may take the sob 
from one throat, or make one song more blithe. 









IV. Two OR THREE' 25 















x Contents 















FUNERAL , ,. . 209 







LIFE is largely a matter of luggage. So soon as 
a child can toddle he displays an insatiable 
passion for carrying things. He is never so happy 
as when he is loaded. His face beams with delight 
when his back is burdened to the point of breaking. 
A few months later he cries for a wooden horse and 
cart, that he may further gratify his inordinate long- 
ing for luggage. And, if these appetites be not hu- 
moured, he will exhaust his unconsecrated energies 
in pushing the chairs, tugging at tables, and carry- 
ing the cat. The instinct is there. You can no more 
deny him his load than you can deny him his lunch. 
The craving for both is born in him. In his auto- 
biography, Thomas Guthrie tells how the blood of 
the Scottish lads in his native village was stirred as 
the echoes of Waterloo reached that remote hamlet. 
'Many a time,' he says, 'did we boys tramp a mile 
or two out of town to meet troops marching to the 
war, and proud we were to be allowed to carry a 
soldier's musket, which the poor fellows, burdened 
with all the heavy accoutrements of those days, and 
wearied with a twelve-hour march on a hot sum- 


4 The Luggage of Life 

mer's day, were glad enough to resign to us.' Here 
is the same subtle law in operation, Man often loves 
without knowing that he loves ; and, little as he sus- 
pects it, he is deeply in love with his load. He groans 
beneath it, as a man grumbles at the wife of his 
bosom, but, if it were taken from him, he would be 
almost as disconsolate as if she were taken from him. 
When we were boys at school we learned ludicrous 
lessons about the weight of the air. How we 
laughed as we listened to the doctrines of Torricelli, 
and heard that every square inch of surface has to 
sustain a weight of fifteen pounds ! How we roared 
in our rollicking scepticism when our school masters 
assured us that we were each of us being subjected 
to a fearful atmospheric pressure of no less than 
fourteen tons ! But Mr. H. G. Wells has drawn for 
us a picture of men unladen. His heroes Mr. 
Cavor and Mr. Bedford have found their way to 
the moon. The fourteen tons of air are no longer 
on their shoulders. The atmospheric pressure is 
removed; they have lost their load, and they nearly 
lose their lives in consequence. They cannot control 
themselves. They can scarcely keep their feet on 
the soil. The slightest spring of the foot, and they 
bound like a ball into mid-air. If they attempt to 
leap over an obstructing boulder, they soar into space 
like larks, and land on a distant cliff or alight on an 

The Luggage of Life 5 

extinct volcano. Life becomes weird, ungovernable, 
terrible. They are lost without their load. Which 
things are symbolic. It is part of the pathos of 
mortality that we only discover how dearly we love 
things after we have lost them. We behold with 
surprise our affections, like torn and bleeding ten- 
drils, hanging desolate, lamenting mutely the com- 
monplace object about which they had entwined 
themselves. So is it with the lading and luggage of 
life. We never wake up to the delicious luxury of 
being heavily burdened until our shoulders miss the 
load that galled them. If we grasped the deepest 
philosophy of life a little more clearly we might per- 
haps fall in love with our luggage. The baby in- 
stinct is perfectly true. Our load is as essential to 
us as our lunch. Very few people have been actually 
crushed in this old world of many burdens. And 
those who have were not the most miserable of men. 
It will not be at all astonishing if the naturalists of 
to-morrow assure us that the animal world knows 
no transport comparable to the fierce and delirious 
ecstasy of the worm beneath the heel. It would 
only be a natural, and perfectly logical, advance upon 
our knowledge of Livingstone's sensations beneath 
the paw of the lion. At any rate, it is clear that man 
owes as much to his luggage as a ship owes to her 
keel. It seems absurd to build her delicately, and 

6 The Luggage of Life 

then burden her dreadfully. But the sailor loves the 
heavy keel and the full freight. It is the light keel 
and the empty hold that have most reason to dread 
the storm. Blessed be ballast ! is a beatitude of the 

Such is the law of life's luggage. But the New 
Testament gives us a still loftier and lovelier word : 
'Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the 
law of Christ.' And these laws the law of nature 
and the law of Christ are not conflicting, but con- 
cordant. The one is the bud, the other is the blos- 
som. For Christ came, not to remove life's luggage, 
but to multiply our burdens. It is true, of course, 
that He said : 'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and 
are heavy laden,' but He only invited them that 
He might offer them His yoke and His burden. 
Here is something worth thinking about. Christ 
gives rest to the heart by giving burdens to the 
shoulders. And, as a matter of fact, it is in being 
burdened that we usually find rest. The Old Testa- 
ment records the sage words of an old woman 
in addressing two younger ones: 'The Lord grant/ 
said Naomi, 'that ye may find rest, each of you, in 
the house of her husband!' Who ever heard of a 
woman finding rest in the house of her husband? 
And yet, and yet ! The restless hearts are not 
the hearts of wives and of mothers, as many a lonely 

The Luggage of Life 7 

woman knows. There is no more crushing load 
than the load of a loveless life. It is a burden that 
is often beautifully and graciously borne, but its 
weight is a very real one. The mother may have a 
bent form, a furrowed brow, and worn, thin hands ; 
but her heart found its rest for all that. Naomi was 
an old woman; she knew the world very well, and 
her words are worth weighing. Heavy luggage is 
Christ's strange cure for weary hearts. 

The law of life's luggage the 'law of Christ' 
has a racial application. It is notorious that a 
Christian people is not physically more robust than 
a savage people. Readers of Alfred Russel Wal- 
lace's Travels on the Amazon will remember that, 
the farther the intrepid voyager proceeded up the 
great waterway, the finer became the physique of the 
natives. And at last, when Dr. Wallace reached a 
point to which no white man had ever before pene- 
trated, he discovered men and women any of whom 
might have posed as models for Grecian sculptors. 
The reason is obvious. The savage knows nothing 
of 'the law of Christ.' He will bear no other's 
burden. The sick must die; the wounded must 
perish; the feeble must go to the wall. Only the 
mightiest and most muscular survive and produce 
another generation. 'The law of Christ' ends all 
that. The luggage of life must be distributed. The 

8 The Luggage of Life 

sick must be nursed ; the wounded must be tended ; 
the frail must be cherished. These, too, must be 
permitted to play their part in the shaping of human 
destiny. They also may love and wed, and become 
fathers and mothers. The weaknesses of each are 
taken back into the blood of the race. The frailty 
of each becomes part of the common heritage. And, 
in the last result, if our men are not all Apollos, and 
if our women do not all resemble Venus de Medici, 
it is largely because we have millions with us who, 
but for 'the law of Christ/ operating on rational 
ideals, would have had no existence at all. In a 
Christian land, under Christian laws, we bear each 
other's burdens, we carry each other's luggage. It 
is the law of Christ, the law of the cross, a sacrificial 
law. The difference between savagery and civiliza- 
tion is simply this, that we have learned, in our very 
flesh and blood, to bear each other's burdens and so 
fulfil the law of Christ. 

We set out with Dr. Guthrie. Let us return to 
him. He is excellent company. He is describing, 
with a glow of satisfaction, one of the ragged- 
schools he established in Edinburgh. 'I remember/ 
he says, 'going down the High Street early one 
morning and seeing a number of our children com- 
ing up. One of them was borne on the shoulders 
of another, and, on my asking the reason, he said 

The Luggage of Life \ 9 

that the little fellow had burned his foot the night 
before, and he was carrying him to school. That,' 
said the doctor emphatically, 'would not have hap- 
pened in any other school in Edinburgh.' It is a 
parable. It is the law of life's luggage. It is the 
law of Christ. 



IN childhood's golden hours we all of us squandered 
a vast amount of sympathy upon Robinson Crusoe. 
And in later years we have caught ourselves shed- 
ding a silent tear for the sorrows of poor Enoch 
Arden, imprisoned on his 'beauteous, hateful isle.' 
In imagination, too, we have paced with the beloved 
disciple the rugged hills of Patmos. We have even 
felt a sympathetic pang for Napoleon in his cheer- 
less exile at St. Helena. And all the while we have 
clean forgotten that we ourselves are each of us 
cast upon lonely, sea-girt islands. We are each one 
of us hopelessly cut off, isolated and insulated. 
Moreover, unlike the heroes of Defoe and Tenny- 
son, we shall never sight a sail. Our beacon-fires 
will never bring down any passing vessel to our 
relief. It is for ever. At our very birth we were 
chained, naked, like Andromeda, to our rock in mid- 
ocean; and no Perseus will ever appear to pity and 
deliver us. The links of the chain by which we are 


Our Desert Islands n 

bound are many and mighty. At one or two of 
them it may do us good to look more particularly. 

And by far the mightiest of these insulating 
factors is the mystery of our own individuality. 
Each several ego is dreadfully alone in the universe. 
Each separate T is without counterpart in all 
eternity. In the deepest sense we are each father- 
less and childless; we have no kith or kin. When 
God makes a man He breaks the mould. Heaven 
builds no sister-ships. We may establish relation- 
ships of friendship and brotherhood with other 
island dwellers across the intervening seas. We 
may hear their voices shouted across the foam, and 
read and return their signals ; but that is all. The 
most intense sympathy can never bridge the gulf. 
No man can enter into the soul of his brother man. 
'I was in the isle,' says John. And he says it for us 
all. 'In all the chief matters of life/ says Amiel in 
his Journal, 'we are alone: we dream alone; we 
suffer alone; we die alone.' 'We are all islands,' 
says George Eliot in one of her beautiful letters to 
Mrs. Bray; 'each in his hidden sphere of joy or 
woe, our hermit spirits dwell and roam apart.' 
'There is nothing more solemn,' says Dr. Alexander 
McLaren, 'than that awful loneliness in which each 
soul of man lives. We stretch out our hands and 
grasp live hands ; yet there is a universe between the 

12 The Luggage of Life 

two that are nearest and most truly one/ And 
perhaps Matthew Arnold has said the last word 
when he sings : 

Yes, in the sea of life enisled, 
With echoing straits between us thrown, 

Dotting the shoreless, watery wild, 
We mortal millions live alone. 

We have shed our tears over the terrific solitude 
of Robinson Crusoe and of Enoch Arden; and, in 
return, Robinson Crusoe and Enoch Arden urge us 
to weep for ourselves. For their partial and 
temporary solitude was as nothing compared with 
the absoluteness and permanence of our own. 

But there are other insulating elements in life. 
Our very circumstances, being peculiar to ourselves, 
tend, of course, to cut us off from others. Our con- 
sciences, too, for there is nothing in the solar system 
so isolating as a secret, and especially as a guilty 
secret. A man with a secret feels that it cuts him 
sheer off from his fellows. A man with a guilty 
secret feels lonely in the densest crowd. A murderer 
can never find a mate. Civilization, therefore, tends 
to isolate us. Savages have but few secrets; they 
know each other too well. But we make secrets of 
everything. Our wealth, our poverty, our joys, our 
sorrows, are our own private affairs. The simplest 
question becomes an impertinence. To ask your 

Our Desert Islands 13 

next-door neighbour the dimensions of his bank 
balance, the sum of his weekly earnings, or the age 
of his wife, would stagger him more than a blow 
with a walking-stick. The conventionalities of 
civilized etiquette all separate us from each other, 
and we move in stately and solitary dignity through 
life to the watchword of 'Mind your own business!' 
But by far the most tragic contributor to our 
isolation is our pitiful and pitiless lack of sympathy 
with each other. We may not altogether understand 
each other ; and we have our revenge by taking some 
pains to misunderstand. Let me cull a pair of 
illustrations from familiar pages of our literature, 
(i) Robert Louis Stevenson tells a famous story of 
two maiden sisters in the Edinburgh of long ago. 
'This pair/ he tells us, 'inhabited a single room. 
From the facts, it must have been double-bedded; 
and it may have been of some dimensions ; but, when 
all is said, it was a single room. Here our two 
spinsters fell out on some point of controversial 
divinity belike; but fell out so bitterly that there 
was never a word spoken between them, black or 
white, from that day forward. You would have 
thought that they would separate; but no, whether 
from lack of means, or the Scottish fear of scandal, 
they continued to keep house together where they 
were. A chalk line drawn upon the floor separated 

14 The Luggage of Life 

their two domains ; it bisected the doorway and the 
fireplace, so that each could go out and in, and do 
her cooking, without violating the territory of the 
other. So, for years, they co-existed in a hateful 
silence; their meals, their ablutions, their friendly 
visitors, exposed to an unfriendly scrutiny; and at 
night, in the dark watches, each could hear the 
breathing of her enemy. Never did four walls look 
down upon an uglier spectacle than these sisters 
rivalling in unsisterliness.' Here are desert islands 
for you! (2) In the Romance of Religion, Olive 
and Herbert Vivian tell a strange story of two 
nuns. They were Bernardines, and lived side by 
side for five years in two adjoining cells, and so thin 
a partition divided them that they could even hear 
the sound of each other's breathing. All this time 
they ate at the same table and prayed in the same 
chapel. At last one of them died, and, according to 
the rule of the Order, the dead nun was laid in the 
chapel, her face uncovered, and the Bernardines 
filed past, throwing holy water upon the remains as 
they went. When it came to the turn of the next- 
door neighbour, no sooner did she catch a sight of 
the dead nun's face than she gave a piercing shriek 
and fell back in a swoon. She had just recognized 
her dearest friend in the world, from whom she had 
parted in anger years before. Each had misunder- 

Our Desert Islands 15 

stood the other, and thought the other unaffected 
by the quarrel. And for five years the two friends 
had lived side by side, neither having seen the 
other's face or heard the other's voice. So true are 
the tragic words of poor Tom Bracken words that 
have an added pathos for those of us who knew 
something of the poet himself : 

Not understood. We move along asunder; 

Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep 
Along the years ; we marvel and we wonder 

Why life is life, and then we fall asleep 
Not understood. 

Not understood. How many breasts are aching 
For lack of sympathy. Ah, day by day, 

How many cheerless, lonely hearts are breaking. 
How many noble spirits pass away 
Not understood. 

O God ! that men would see a little clearer, 
Or judge less harshly when they cannot see! 

O God ! that men would draw a little nearer 
To one another! they'd be nearer Thee, 
And understood. 

'We are like islands/ says Rudyard Kipling, 'and 
we shout to each other across seas of misunder- 

But there is another side to all, and happily a 
brighter one. Island life has its compensations. 
'I was in the isle,' says John. But in the very next 
sentence he adds, 'I was in the Spirit.' Insulations 

i6 The Luggage of Life 

have their inspirations. The world is not ruled by 
its continents. Wide continental areas, like China 
and Russia, count for little in the world's history. 
The continents are ruled by the islands, not the 
islands by the continents. 'The ancient Grecians 
and Phoenicians/ says Lamartine, 'imbibed some- 
thing of the perpetual agitation and insubordination 
of the sea. The spectacle of the ocean renders man 
more free and impatient of restraint, for he con- 
stantly beholds the image of liberty in its waves, and 
his soul imbibes the independence of the element/ 
With which agrees a great American writer. 'It is 
this fluid element/ he says, 'that gives fluidity 
and progress to the institutions and opinions of the 
race. It is only in the great inland regions of the 
world in Central Africa and Asia that bigotry 
and inveterate custom have their seat. In these vast 
regions that never saw the sea men have lived from 
age to age without progress or the idea of progress, 
crushed under despotism and superstition, rooted 
down like their trees, motionless as their mountains. 
It was never a Babylon or a Timbuctoo or any city 
of the inland regions that was forward to change or 
improvement. It was a Tyre, Queen of the Sea ; a 
Carthage, sending out her ships beyond the Pillars 
of Hercules to Britain and the Northern Isles; an 
Athens, an Alexandria, these were the seats of 

Our Desert Islands 17 

thought, of art, of learning, and literal improvement 
of every sort.' Island life has therefore compensa- 
tions peculiar to itself. 

All of which is an allegory. Every isolation is a 
preparation for the conquest of a continent. Think 
of the isolation of John Milton, represented by his 
blindness; and think, at the same time, of Paradise 
Lost. What an island Bedford Jail seemed to 
Bunyan! And what continents has he won by his 
Pilgrim's Progress*. John fretted like a caged lion 
on his rock at Patmos; but his visions there have 
enriched every time and every clime. We are 
isolated in the loneliness of our own individuality 
that each individual may contribute out of his 
peculiar experience to the wealth of the whole 
world. There is no charge committed to our care 
so mysterious and so sacred as the development 
and diffusion of our own selves. And every other 
insulating element is designed, not as an exile for 
the one, but as an enrichment for the whole. The 
islands are the masters of the continents in this 
world and in every other. And thus it has come to 
pass that the dreariest, most desolate, and most 
awful isolation of which men have ever heard the 
loneliness and dereliction of the Cross is issuing, 
and must issue, in the conquest and redemption of 
the world. 



POOR Mr. Little-Faith was violently assaulted and 
robbed in Deadman's Lane. So Bunyan tells us. 
But the remarkable thing about the crime was this, 
that, when he recovered his senses and was able to 
investigate his loss, he found that his assailants had 
taken only his spending-money. 'The place where 
his jewels were, they never ransacked ; so those he 
kept still.' There is a subtle philosophy about the 
episode in Deadman's Lane. Prebendary Carlile, 
the head of the Church Army, tells a delightful 
story of a Welsh miner who, in the great days of the 
Revival, avowed himself a disciple of Jesus Christ. 
He had previously exhibited an amazing facility in 
the use of expletives of the baser kind. With his 
changed life, however, it became customary for him 
to meet the most exasperating treatment with a 
manly smile and a homespun benediction. His 
mates, disapproving the revolution in his behaviour, 
one day stole his dinner. But all they heard their 
transformed comrade say was: Traise the Lord! 


Our Highway Robberies 19 

I've still got my appetite \ They can't take that!' 
The good collier only emphasized, in his own quaint 
way, the lofty logic of Deadman's Lane. The truth 
is embedded in the very essence of Christian teach- 
ing. The robbers always leave the best behind 
them ; they cannot help it. The writer of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews commends his readers for having 
taken joyfully the spoiling of their goods. And he 
adds : 'Ye are well aware that ye have in your own 
selves a more valuable possession, and one which 
will remain.' Life's spoilers leave the best of the 
spoil after all. 

The pilgrims to the Celestial City must all of them 
pass through the eerie shades of Deadman's Lane. 
And they alone can enter that darksome avenue 
with a song on their lips who are first assured of the 
absolute security of their best possessions. In one 
of the noblest passages of Sesame and Lilies, Ruskin 
deals with that great saying in the Sermon on the 
Mount concerning the treasures of the Court, which 
a moth can destroy; the treasures of the Camp, 
which rust can defile; and the treasures of the 
Counting-house, which a thief can despoil. These, 
then, are the desperadoes of Deadman's Lane the 
moth and the rust and the thief ! And these are the 
only things that they can steal the treasures of 
Place and of Power and of Pelf ! But there must, as 

20 The Luggage of Life 

Ruskin argues, be a fourth order of treasure a web 
made fair in the weaving, by Athena's shuttle (a 
web that no moth can destroy) ; an armour forged 
in divine fire by Vulcanian force (an armour that no 
rust can defile) ; a gold to be mined in the very 
sun's red heart, where he sets over the Delphian 
cliffs (a gold that no thief can steal) ; deep-pictured 
tissue; impenetrable armour; potable gold. Yes; 
there is, there is! And it was to this fourth order 
of treasure that Jesus pointed in His great sermon. 
It was treasure of this fourth order that Mr. Little- 
Faith safely retained, after his robbery, in 'the place 
where his jewels were.' These 'the robbers never 
ransacked ; so these he kept still.' 

Now it so happened that Peter was standing by 
that day, and heard that great word about the robes 
of office that moths cannot eat, about the swords of 
power that rust cannot defile, and about the shining 
hoard that thieves cannot steal. And long afterwards 
the three sets of treasures were running in his mind 
when he himself wrote to scattered and persecuted 
Christians concerning the inheritance that is incor- 
ruptible, because no moth can corrupt it, and unde- 
filable, because no rust can defile it, and unfading, 
because no thieves can steal it. These are the jewels 
that the brigands of Deadman's Lane can never 

Our Highway Robberies 21 

Oh the night was dark and the night was late, 

And the robbers came to rob him ; 
And they picked the locks of his palace-gate, 

The robbers that came to rob him 
They picked the locks of his palace-gate, 
Seized his jewels and gems of state, 
His coffers of gold and his priceless plate, 

The robbers that came to rob him. 

But loud laughed he in the morning red ! 

For of what had the robbers robbed him? 
Ho ! hidden safe as he slept in bed, 

When the robbers came to rob him, 
They robbed him not of a golden shred 
Of the radiant dreams in his wise old head 
'And they're welcome to all things else !' he said, 

When the robbers came to rob him. 

The lines inevitably recall the well-known story 
of Jeremy Taylor. His house had been pitilessly 
plundered; all his choicest possessions had been 
squandered; his family had been turned out of 
doors. Yet, in face of his sore trial, the good man 
kneeled down and gave humble and hearty thanks 
to his God that his enemies had left him 'the sun and 
the moon, a loving wife, many friends to pity and 
relieve, the providence of God, all the promises of 
the gospel, his faith, his hope of heaven, and his 
charity towards his enemies!' Life's burglars and 
bandits can make but poor headway against a man 
of that temper. 

22 The Luggage of Life 

But of all those whose pockets have been rifled, 
and whose houses have been robbed, none have 
suffered more heavily than Paul. He knew the 
skill of the robbers better than any of us. Here is 
his own record : 'In stripes above measure, in prisons 
more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five 
times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was 
I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suf- 
fered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in 
the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, 
in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own country- 
men, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, 
in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in 
perils among false brethren ; in weariness and pain- 
fulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in 
fastings often, in cold and nakedness.' Yes, 'in 
peril of robbers/ The sea had robbed him once, 
and the land had robbed him often. He knew what 
the robbers could steal, and he knew what they could 
not. 'Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; 
whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether 
there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.' These 
are life's 'spending-money,' which we may lose by 
violent hands in Deadman's Lane. But the apostle 
goes on : 'But now abideth faith, hope, love these 
three; and the greatest of these is love/ These are 
the jewels that the robbers cannot ransack. 

Our Highway Robberies 23 

I had a friend, 

Whose love no time could end ; 
That friend didst Thou to Thine own bosom take ; 

For this, my loss, I see no reparation ; 

The earth was once my home a habitation 
Of sorrow Thou hast made it for this sake. 

I had a love 

(This bitterest did prove) ; 

A mystic light of joy on earth and sky; 

Strange fears and hopes ; a rainbow tear and smile, 
A transient splendour for a little while ; 

Then sudden darkness ; Lord, Thou knowest why ! 

What have I left? 

Of friend and love bereft; 

Stripped bare of everything I counted dear. 
What friend have I like that I lost? What call 
To action? Nay, what love? Lord, I have all, 

And more besides, if only Thou art near ! 

In Florence visitors are shown the doors which 
Michael Angelo declared to be fit for the gates of 
Paradise. They are covered with exquisite pictures, 
and picked out with noble imagery in bronze. But 
those gates were once gilded, and Dante speaks of 
them as the 'golden gates.' The centuries have 
eaten away the gilt, but have been unable to touch 
one particle of the magnificent work of the immortal 
master. Let us put on a cheerful courage, there- 
fore, as we enter Deadman's Lane. The best always 
abides after the gleam and the gloss have worn off. 

24 The Luggage of Life 

Tjhat is for ever and for ever the strong consolation 
of the Christian gospel. The robbers steal the 
glitter ; they cannot touch the gold. They take Mr. 
Little-Faith's spend ing-money ; but his jewels are 
still his own after the brigands have decamped. 


A BLIND man can always tell when there is a poor 
congregation. In such a case the minister invariably 
quotes a certain text: "Where two or three are 
gathered together in My name, there am I in the 
midst of them.' But the text is as much out of 
place as the missing worshippers. We have no right 
to drag it in drearily, dolefully, dismally, whenever 
the empty pews are particularly conspicuous. It is 
not an apology for human absence. It is a trium- 
phant proclamation of the divine presence. And it 
raises a most interesting question. Who are the 
TWO? And who is the possible THIRD.? 


Who are the TWO ? 

Who can they be but Euodias and Syntyche, 
those two wrangling sisters in the church at Philippi, 


26 The Luggage of Life 

and all their still more quarrelsome daughters in all 
the churches of the world? Who can they be but 
Paul and Barnabas, so sharply contending; and 
all their contentious sons the wide world over? 
Wherever and whenever two daughters of Euodias 
and Syntyche poor ruffled creatures who have 
judged rashly and spoken hastily meet together 
that they may kiss each other for Christ's dear sake, 
and 'be of the same mind in the Lord/ 'there/ says 
their great Master, 'am I in the midst of them/ 
Wherever and whenever two sons of Paul and 
Barnabas poor inflamed disciples who have con- 
tended sharply and divided suddenly meet to- 
gether that they may love each other for the gospel's 
sake (until they come once more to love each other 
for their own) there, says their Lord, am I in the 
midst of them. It is at such times as it is at the table 
of the Lord. There is the same real Presence, the 
same thrill of the heart ; the same 'thoughts that do 
lie too deep for tears.' He is there, forgiving, and 
teaching them the high art of forgiveness; forget- 
ting, and showing them how to forget. 

But the THIRD the possible THIRD? 'Two or 
three' Who is he? The third, if there be a third, 
is clearly that blessed one of the Seventh Beatitude : 
'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called 
the children of God/ The possible third is some 

'Two or Three' 27 

lovely and gracious spirit who has wept in secret 
over the pitiful estrangement of poor thin-skinned 
Euodias and poor quick-tempered Syntyche. And, 
by her beautiful ministry, she, like an angel of peace, 
has brought them to this place of the Holy Presence. 
The possible third is some strong, sane, saintly 
soul who has grieved over the sharp contentions of 
Paul and Barnabas, and has tactfully helped them 
each to a discovery of the other's excellences. 
Where Euodias and Syntyche and such an angel 
meet, where Paul and Barnabas and such a Great- 
heart kneel, we take our shoes from off our feet, for 
the place whereon we stand is holy ground. It is 
hallowed by the Presence. 'Where two or three are 
gathered together in My name, there am I in the 
midst of them.' 'These words,' says Professor 
Simon, 'were spoken primarily of those who were 
assembled for the settlement of quarrels.' So be it. 


Who are the TWO ? 

Who can they be but a husband and a wife? 
Following upon the excellent example of Paul, 
Peter addresses himself to all hubsands and to all 
wives till wedding-bells shall chime no more. But 
Peter goes just one step beyond Paul, in that he 


takes all his husbands and wives into his confidence, 
and tells them the profound reason for his earnest 
solicitude on their behalf. 'That your prayers be 
not hindered/ he says. 'I have so carefully warned 
and admonished and instructed you as to your atti- 
tude and behaviour to each other that your prayers 
be not hindered/ Happy is that bridegroom who, 
when all the confetti has been thrown, when the 
chattering, giggling throng is at last excluded, when 
he finds himself at length alone with his bride, 
kneels with her, and lays in prayer and adoration the 
foundation of the new home. 'Except the Lord 
build the house, they labour in vain that build it.' 
Wherever and whenever a man and his wife bow in 
the presence of the Highest, that they may sweeten 
and strengthen and sanctify their happy union by a 
common fellowship with God, there, says the 
strange Guest who blessed the marriage at Cana, 
there am I in the midst of them. These are the TWO. 
But the THIRD the possible THIRD? 'Two or 
three.' Who is he? Let us consult, in our per- 
plexity, one of the fathers of the Church. Let 
Clement of Alexandria tell us. 'Who are the two or 
three gathered together in Christ's name, and in 
whose midst the Lord is? Is it not husband and 
wife and child f To be sure. In the days of love's 
young dream we say that 'two's company, three's 

'Two or Three' 29 

none.' But when God sends a little child into a 
home the early theory stands exploded, and three 
become company, and two become none for ever 
after. There is hope for Christianity so long as 
these three gather in His name, and He is in the 
midst of them. The family altar is the hub of the 
spiritual universe. Every husband who does not 
daily enjoy the benediction of the 'two or three' 
should straightway read the fragrant life-story of 
Thomas Boston. And every wife whose domestic 
drudgeries and social niceties are not glorified by the 
blessing of the 'two or three' should hasten to the 
nearest library for the life of Susanna Wesley. And 
after he has read the tale of Thomas Boston, and 
after she has read the story of Susanna Wesley, not 
a word will be said. They will rise and look into 
each other's faces with a glance of perfect under- 
standing. And 'a possible third' will be brought in 
from a cot or from a kitchen, and that home will be- 
come the gate of heaven. They will meet together, 
and read together, and pray together on that day 
and on every day that comes after it. And where 
those two or three gather together in His name, 
there He will be in the midst of them. 

That was a great word which fell the other day 
from the lips of King George V: 'The foundations 
of national glory,' he said, 'are set in the homes of 

30 The Luggage of Life 

the people. They will only remain unshaken while 
the family life of our nation is strong and simple and 
pure.' It was right royally spoken. Herein lies 
life's wealthiest enrichment and finest fortification. 


Who are the TWO? 

Who can they be but those torch-bearers and 
testifiers whom He has sent in pairs to the uttermost 
ends of the earth ? He sent them forth two by two, 
and wherever any two of them sit by the wayside, or 
kneel in the shadow, or, like the men of Emmaus, 
talk as they walk, there will He be in the midst of 
them. And so men have paired off ever since Paul 
and Silas, Mark and Barnabas, Luther and Melanch- 
thon, Franciscan friars, Dominican monks, Lollard 
preachers, Salvationist officers, travelling evan- 
gelists, and a host beside. Nor are the minister and 
his wife in their manse, or the missionary and his 
wife at their remote outpost, any exception to the 
rule. And wherever and whenever His ambassa- 
dors, persecuted as Paul and Silas were persecuted, 
meet together in His name, as Paul and Silas in 
their prison 'prayed and sang praises unto God/ 
there will He be in the midst of them, as He was 
most manifestly in the midst of them on that never- 

'Two or Three' 31 

to-be-forgotten night at Philippi. It is ever so. 
This great saying concerning the 'two or three' is 
the watchword of the faith. It is the pledge that, 
however isolated the scene, however remote the 
station, however lonely the toilers, He is always 

But the THIRD the possible THIRD? 'Two or 
three.' Who is he? Who can he be but the first 
convert? Lydia, for example, that winsome soul 
who, as the 'Lady of the Decoration' would have 
said, 'had a beautiful big house, and a beautiful big 
heart, and took us right into both.' Paul never for- 
got when he and Silas and Lydia happy three! 
met together in His name. It was the very joy 
that is in the presence of the angels overflowing 
into the hearts of mortal men. There was not a 
shadow of doubt about it. He was clearly there in 
the midst of them. Or the jailer, for example. 
Paul and Silas and their jailer ! What a triad ! But 
what a night was that! No Christian knows what 
Christianity really means until he has experienced 
such days as that day of Lydia' s and such nights as 
that night with the jailer. Religion catches fire and 
becomes sensational. The moment when two weary 
workers kneel with their first convert has all eternity 
crammed and crowded into it. Ask Robert and 
Mary Moffat if that is not so. Wherefore let every 

32 The Luggage of Life 

minister and his wife, and every missionary and his 
wife, and every pair of Christian comrades every- 
where, keep an eye open day and night for the pos- 
sible Number Three. 'Two or three,' the Master 
said. Three's company ; two's none ! 


THE unvarnished fact is that even the skipper does 
not know everything. He sweeps the horizon with 
his glasses, but there are signs in the sky that elude 
his wary observation. He may quite easily be 
beaten at his own game. The seer in the cabin may 
decipher the language of the clouds more accurately 
than the bronzed and weather-beaten mariner on 
the quarter-deck. That was the mistake the cen- 
turion made. 'The^centurion believed the master of 
the ship more than those things which were spoken 
by Paul.' It is a purely nautical matter. The cap- 
tain of the ship predicts fair weather and urges an 
early clearance. Paul, the prisoner and passenger, 
foretold angry seas, and advised remaining in 
shelter. The centurion believed the captain of the 
ship. But Paul was right; the captain was wrong; 
and the ship was lost. Sooner or later, all life re- 
solves itself into a desperate struggle for human 
credence between Paul and the captain of the ship. 
The point is that the captain of the ship is the man 

34 The Luggage of Life 

who might be supposed to know. He is a specialist. 
And Paul sets over against his nautical erudition the 
unsatisfying words, 'I perceive.' It is a case of 
Reason on the one hand and Revelation on the 
other; and the centurion pins his faith to the vigi- 
lant captain rather than to the visionary Paul. That 
is the exact point at which the world has always 
missed its way. That was the trouble at the very 
start. Could it be that to eat of the fruit of the tree 
would be to die? Was it reasonable upon the face 
of it? And Adam believed the captain of the ship. 
Later Noah predicted a flood. Where were the phe- 
nomena to warrant such an alarming forecast? Did 
it appeal to common sense? And again the insistent 
voice of Revelation was scouted. Visit the melan- 
choly sites of Edom and Babylon, of Tyre and 
Sidon, of Sodom and Gomorrah, of Greece and 
Rome, and everywhere, on crumbling pillar and 
broken arch, seeing eyes may discern these signifi- 
cant words, deeply graven on the ruins that are 
splendid even in decay: They believed the captain 
of the ship. These magnificent empire-builders of 
yesterday scouted the nebulous perceptions of the 
prophets, and they fell. National shipwreck always 
comes along that line. 

It is wonderful how little the practical man really 
knows. A grey-headed old theorist is tapping away 

The Captain of the Ship 35 

with his geological hammer among the stones and 
. strata on the hill-side. As he leaves he remarks 
casually that there is coal in the mountain. The 
practical man smiles' incredulously at the poor old 
fellow as he packs his hammers and glasses and 
specimens and strolls off home; but, a year or two 
later, when the hill-side is riddled with shafts, grimy 
with coal-dust, and black with smoke, the 'practical 
man' bites his lips in disgust at his failure to take 
the old dreamer's hint. The meteorologist shuts him- 
self up in his laboratory among phials and chemicals. 
Presently he opens his door and gravely predicts a 
storm. The masters of the craft down at the port 
smile knowingly and put to sea ; but when their ships 
are in the pitiless grip of the gale they grimly re- 
member the forecast. Only the other day Professor 
Belar, Director of the Larbach Observatory, warned 
miners of seismic unrest that seemed likely to 
liberate fire-damp. He was not taken very seri- 
ously; and within a day or two all Europe stood 
aghast at the horror of the Lancashire colliery ex- 
plosion. Paul generally knows what he is talking 

It would be an appalling calamity if we were left 
at the mercy of the captain of the ship. He may 
be true as steel, and good as gold, but, as in 
the case under notice, he makes mistakes. Those 

56 The Luggage of Life 

who are inclined, like the centurion, to trust the 
captain of the ship rather than those things that 
are spoken by Paul will do well to consult a second 
captain. There are more ships than one, and the 
opinion of the second captain will diverge from 
that of the first. Doctors differ. I have recently 
been reading the biographies of some of our greatest 
English judges, and few things are more curious 
than the way in which two distinguished judges, 
equally able and equally conscientious, will hear 
the selfsame evidence, and listen to the selfsame 
speeches, and then arrive at diametrically opposite 
conclusions. The same phenomenon is common in 
politics. Great and gifted men, trained to wrestle 
with the problems of political economy, developing 
by long experience all the instincts and functions 
of statesmanship, will divide sharply and oppose 
each other hotly on the most simple issues. 

Clearly the captain of the ship is unreliable. In a 
world like this, on which so many worlds depend, it 
would be the climax of misfortune if the captain of 
the ship had it all his own way. There are visions, 
perceptions, revelations. God speaks from without. 
He speaks plainly, so that wayfaring men may not 
err. Paul rises and says grandly, 'Sirs, I per- 
ceive. . . .' And that centurion is foolish indeed 
who believes the captain of the ship more than 

The Captain of the Ship 37 

those things that are spoken by Paul. The dusty 
and travel-stained pilgrims of eternity would be of 
all men most miserable if, amidst the babel of many 
advisers, no clear guidance had reached them from 
the haven of their desire. Happily, the Lord of 
the Pilgrims does not leave His Christians and 
Hopefuls to find the way to the Celestial City as 
best they may. There are the 'things spoken by 

Yet it must be admitted that there is a certain 
glamour and fascination about the captain of the 
ship. It is restful to believe him rather than to 
venture everything upon the verdict of a visionary. 
In one of the biographies to which we have referred 
an interesting situation occurs. It is in the Life 
of Sir Henry Hawkins (Baron Brampton). At the 
very climax of his fame as a judge, accustomed 
every day to weighing conflicting evidence, and 
deciding between opposing claims, the great judge 
gave himself to the study of religion, and, as a 
result, he joined the Roman Church. Newman's 
Apologia is a similar case. How can these 'con- 
versions' be explained? The answer is obvious. 
Considered from the strictly judicial point of view 
of Hawkins, or from the coldly intellectual stand- 
point of Newman, their decisions are perfectly 
intelligible. They simply believed the captain of 

38 The Luggage of Life 

the ship. In the Roman Church they find a com- 
mander, a head, a pope. He speaks plainly, he is 
invested with the glamour of authority, and his 
decisions are final; he is the captain of the ship. 
But there are other voices that do not yield to 
such icily critical investigation. They are subtle, 
silent, spiritual. But they satisfy, and lead to safety. 
'The centurion believed the captain of the ship 
more than those things which were spoken by Paul.' 
That is exactly what, moving along purely logical 
and coldly intellectual lines, Hawkins and Newman 
would have done. 

But when all is said and done, Paul is right. A 
leading English minister, the other day, drew aside 
the veil of squalor and filth, and revealed to an 
eminent scientist the raw material on which he 
worked the very refuse and wreckage of society. 
'Is there any hope for these people?' he asked. 
The old professor took his time, and answered sagely, 
'Pathologically speaking, there is none!' Just so. 
That is the verdict of the captain of the ship. But 
Paul cries, 'Sirs, I perceive . . . ,' and tells a vastly 
different tale. And which is right? Ask your 
ministers; ask your city missionaries; ask General 
Booth. Or, if you suspect these of bias, consult 
the works of Professor William James, the eminent 
psychologist, or Rider Haggard, the eminent 

The Captain of the Ship 39 

novelist. Professor James, in his masterpiece, con- 
fessed that, in ways altogether beyond psychological 
explanation, the activities of the Church have again 
and again made bad men good. Spiritual energies 
have wrought the most amazing moral transforma- 
tions. And still more recently Rider Haggard raises 
his hat in reverence before the astonishing phe- 
nomenon of conversion as he has seen it for himself 
in his investigations of the work of the Salvation 
Army. There can be no doubt about it. The un- 
seen world is the triumphant world. The spiritual 
is, after all, the sane and the safe. The only way of 
avoiding shipwreck in Church and in State is clearly 
to pay good heed to 'the things spoken by Paul/ 



LIFE has a wonderful way of tapering majestically 
to its climax. It narrows itself up towards its su- 
premacies, like a mountain rising to its snow-capped 
summit in the skies. Our supreme interests assert 
themselves invincibly at the last. Our master pas- 
sions are 'in at the death.' Let us glance at a pair 
of extraordinarily parallel illustrations. 

Paul is awaiting his last appearance before Nero. 
The old apostle is caught and caged at last. 
He is writing his very last letter. He expects, if 
spared, to spend the winter in a Roman dungeon. 
'Do your very best,' he says to Timothy, 'to come 
to me before winter.' 'And/ he adds, 'the cloke 
that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, 
bring with thee, and the books, but especially the 
parchments' ! 

Under circumstances almost exactly similar Paul's 
great translator, William Tyndale, was lying in his 
damp cell at Vilvorde awaiting the fatal stroke 


The Supremacies of Life 41 

which set his spirit free a few weeks later. And, 
as in Paul's case, winter was coming on. 'Bring me/ 
he writes, 'a warmer cap, something to patch my 
leggings, a woollen shirt, and, above all, my Hebrew 
Bible' ! 

Especially the parchments! 

Above all, my Hebrew Bible! 

The emphasis is upon the especially and upon the 
above all. Paul knows how isolated he will feel in 
his horrid cellar, and he twice begs his young com- 
rade to hurry to his side. He knows how cold he 
will be, and he pleads for his cloke. He knows how 
lonely will be his incarceration, and he says, 'Bring 
the books'! Yet he feels that, after all, these do 
not represent the supremacies of life. It is not on 
these that he is prepared to make his final stand. 
'But especially the parchments' ! Much as he 
yearns for the clasp of Timothy's hand, he is pre- 
pared, if needs be, to face the stern future alone. 
Much as he longs for his warm tunic to shelter his 
aged limbs, he is prepared, if needs be, to sit and 
shiver the long winter through. Gladly as he would 
revel in his favourite authors, he is prepared, if 
needs be, to sit counting the links in his chain and 
the stones in the wall. But the parchments ! These 
are life's supreme, essential, indispensable requisites. 
These represent life's irreducible minimum. 'Espe- 

42 The Luggage of Life 

cially the parchments'! 'Above all, my Hebrew 
Bible' ! These are the supremacies of life. 

The hero of romance erects a pyramid upon its 
apex. He sets out in life with one or two friends. 
He soon multiplies the number. He counts them, 
as the years pass, by the score and by the hundred. 
And he dies at last in the possession of friendships 
which can be numbered by the thousand. It is a 
false note. The thing is untrue to experience. 'The 
first true gentleman that ever breathed' found His 
path thronged with friends at the outset. But, as 
time wore on, they wore off. 'Many of His disciples 
went back, and walked no more with Him/ Twelve 
remained, such as they were ; but even that remnant 
must be sifted, and of the twelve a selection had 
to be made. And into the chamber of death, and up 
to the Mount of Transfiguration, and into the Gar- 
den of Gethsemane 'Jesus taketh with Him Peter 
and James and John.' The pyramid is narrowing 
up towards its apex. And when He passes from 
Gethsemane to Golgotha John alone stands by the 
cross, and even he had wavered. 'And Jesus said 
unto John, Son, behold thy mother.' It had tapered 
sharply to the unit at last. 'Especially John.' 

Sir William Robertson Nicoll has a story of an 
old Scotsman who lay a-dying. His little room was 
crowded with friends. Presently a number of them 

The Supremacies of Life 43" 

rose and quietly left. There remained his old wife, 
Jean, and the trusted companions of a long pilgrim- 
age. As his frame became more feeble and his eye 
more dim one after another reverently rose, lifted 
the worn old latch silently, and left the room. At 
last the old man pressed the withered hand in which 
his own was clasped, and whispered faintly: 'They 
will a' gang : you will stay !' And at last he and she 
were the sole occupants of the little chamber. 
'Especially Jean/ Which things are an allegory. 
The pyramid narrows to its apex. Life contracts 
towards its supremacies. 'Especially the parch- 
ments'! 'I have hosts of friends,' wrote Lord 
Macaulay in one of his beautiful letters to his sister, 
'but not more than half a dozen the news of whose 
death would spoil my breakfast.' And of that half- 
dozen he would probably at a later stage have made 
a selection. Friendship has its supremacies. 

The same is, of course, true of our libraries. Like 
the apostle, we are all fond of books ; but our book- 
shelves dwindle in intensity as they grow in ex- 
tensity. As life goes on we accumulate more and 
more volumes, but we set more and more store on a 
few selected classics of the soul. The number of 
those favourites diminishes as the hair bleaches. 
We have a score ; a dozen ; and at length three. And 
if the hair gets very white, we find the three too 

44 The Luggage of Life 

many by two. 'Especially the parchments'! Sir 
H. M. Stanley set out upon his great African ex- 
ploration with quite a formidable library. One can- 
not march eighteen hours a day under an equatorial 
sun, and he gave a prudent thought to the long en- 
campments, and armed himself with books. But 
books are often heavy in a literal as well as in a 
literary sense. And one by one his native servants 
deserted him (the pyramid towering towards its 
apex). And, as a consequence, Stanley was com- 
pelled to leave one treasured set of volumes at this 
African village, and another at that, until at last he 
had but two books left Shakespeare and the Bible. 
And we have no doubt that, had Africa been a still 
broader continent than it actually is, even Shake- 
speare would have been abandoned to gratify the 
curiosity of some astonished Hottentots or pigmies. 
It all comes back to that pathetic entry in Lockhart's 
diary at Abbots ford : 'He [Sir Walter Scott] then 
desired to be wheeled through his rooms in the bath- 
chair. We moved him leisurely for an hour or more 
tip and down the hall and the great library. "I have 
seen much," he kept saying, "but nothing like my 
ain hoose give me one turn more !" Next morning 
he desired to be drawn into the library and placed by 
the central window, that he might look down upon 
the Tweed. Here he expressed a wish that I should 

The Supremacies of Life 45 

read to him. I asked, from what book. He said, 
"Need you ask? There is but one!" I chose the 
fourteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel.' He lis- 
tened with mild devotion, and, when Lockhart had 
finished reading of the Father's house and the many 
mansions, he said, "That is a great comfort !' The 
juxtaposition of phrases is arresting: 'In the great 
library' 'there is but one book I' The pyramid 
stood squarely upon its solid foundation, but it 
towered grandly and tapered finely towards its nar- 
row but majestic summit. Come/ says Paul the 
Aged, 'for I am lonely; bring the cloke, for I am 
old and cold ; bring the books, for my mind is hun- 
gry; but, oh, if all these fail, send the parchments!' 
Especially the parchments! Life's supremacies 
must always conquer and claim their own at the last. 


BENEATH cloudless Italian skies Paul is painfully 
but patiently enduring, in a stifling cell, the suffocat- 
ing fervours of the sultry summer days. And, with 
the fierce heat at its insufferable maximum, he casts 
a prudent thought ahead of him, and contemplates 
the severe rigours of a stern Roman winter. 'Do 
thy best/ he writes to Timothy, 'to come to me be- 
fore winter; and the cloke which I left at Troas 
bring with thee.' Superficial observers have often 
considered these personal trivialities beneath the 
dignity of Scripture. The trifling is subjective; it is 
not objective. It is their criticism that lacks dignity. 
'Eyes have they, but they see not/ The microscopic 
is often as eloquent and as revealing as the majestic. 
Divinity often trembles in a dewdrop. A trifling 
incident may reflect a tremendous principle. A 
psychologist would at least discover in the story of 
Paul and his summer call for his winter cloke a fine 
instance of the amazing detachment of which the 


The Prudentialities of Life 47 

human mind is capable. It is a strange and wonder- 
ful thing that we are able, amidst summer scenes, to 
project our thoughts so realistically into the coming 
cold that we give an involuntary shiver and cast our 
eyes over our wardrobes. The same power, of 
course, enables us to project our minds, not merely 
from our summer cells to our winter wardrobes, 
but from our own summers to other people's winters. 
It is by this extraordinary faculty of the mind that 
we sympathize. My lady, wrapped snugly in rugs 
and furs, detaches herself from herself, and projects 
herself into the wretched rags of her sister in the 
slums. No one can read Charles Dickens without 
feeling that, even as he sat in his comfortable room 
and wrote, he endured all the agonies of the poverty 
which he so passionately portrayed. Mrs. Harriet 
Beecher Stowe could never have written Uncle 
Tom's Cabin unless she had first projected herself, 
in uttermost detachment from herself, into the 
anguish of Cassy and Eliza. The iron entered into 
her own soul by this weird and awful power of in- 
tellectual abandonment. It makes even loftier 
flights: it explores moral territories. Lovers of 
Oliver Twist will remember how the pure, sweet 
girlhood of Rose Maylie came into touch with the 
soiled soul of poor Nancy, and for one awful mo- 
ment the mind of Rose projected itself into the sins 

48 The Luggage of Life 

and sorrows of Nancy ; and, in the presence of that 
marvel, Nancy burst into tears. 'O, lady, lady!' 
she cried, clasping her hands passionately before her 
face, 'if there were more like you, there would be 
fewer like me there would, there would!' And, 
travelling along this road, we should soon come to 
that culminating example of mental and moral de- 
tachment by which the redemption of a lost world 
was effected. From the summer-time of His glory 
and holiness He detached Himself from Himself 
emptied Himself and wept with us in the winter of 
our raggedness and shame. 'He had compassion' ! 
The ages can know no greater miracle or mystery 
than that. 

But the purely psychological phenomenon pre- 
sented by Paul's summer call for his winter cloke has 
led us a little astray. A wayfaring man will recog- 
nize it as an illustration of the prudentialities of life. 
Paul anticipates in summer the demands of winter. 
Such prudentialities are everywhere. The great 
mountain heights store up in winter their millions 
upon millions of tons of snow ; and when early sum- 
mer suns have dried up the lower springs, and when 
otherwise the plains would be scorched beneath a 
pitiless glare, the welcome streams come flowing 
down from the heights, and the grateful cattle 
quench their thirst. In the same way, the soft green 

The Prudentialities of Life 49 

mosses along the banks of the rivulet saturate them- 
selves with moisture like sponges, conserving and 
protecting it, and in the later days of drought, when 
else the bed of the stream would be dry, they release 
their precious burthen, and the thirsty bless them. 
In animate creatures the faculty is, of course, much 
more pronounced. Everybody knows how ants and 
beetles make elaborate preparations for days as yet 
far ahead of them. The mice and the squirrels 
make hay while the sun shines, and lay up in store 
against frost and snow. The bee provides her 
honey when the earth is gay with flowers with the 
intention of living upon her hoard when no blossoms 
are to be seen. We remember reading in Parkman's 
Conspiracy of Pontiac, of the folly of the Algonquin 
Indian who, 'in the hour of plenty, forgets the sea- 
son of want,' until, 'stiff and stark, with haggard 
cheek and shrivelled lip, he lies among the snow- 
drifts; till, with tooth and claw the famished wild 
cat strives in vain to pierce the frigid marble of his 
limbs.' There is a more excellent way. And Paul, 
following the example of mice and squirrels and 
bees, thinks of winter cold while as yet he perspires 
beneath summer suns. The most obvious applica- 
tion of the principle is, naturally, the most practical 
one. Those who are too dense to catch our mean- 
ing had better inquire for an interpretation of it at 

50 The Luggage of Life 

a savings bank, a building society, or an insurance 
office. It is true, of course, that, concerning many 
things, to-morrow must not obtrude upon to-day; 
but the future has its certainties, and it would be 
both impious and absurd to neglect them. Since it 
is certain that winter must follow summer, it is 
certain that it is the duty of Paul to arrange for his 
cloke. A man must provide for his home whilst as 
yet he is single ; he must make his will whilst in the 
best of health the applications are simply innum- 
erable. But the truth has its deeper aspects. In 
the heyday of spiritual prosperity we must lay up in 
store against days of darkness and doubt. In 
the days of opened heavens and answered prayers 
let us record the experience on the tablets of mem- 
ory, to feed upon when the heavens are as brass and 
prayer as a tinkling cymbal. 'When infidel thoughts 
come knocking at my door/ wrote good old Thomas 
! Shepard, 'I send them away with this answer : Why 
should I question that truth which I have both seen 
'and known in better days?' There is a world of 
sagacity and shrewdness there ! 

It was an awful night in Scotland. The snow was 
deep ; the wind simply shrieked around the little hut 
in which a good old elder lay dying. His daughter 
brought the family Bible to his bedside. 

'Father/ she said, 'will I read a chapter to ye ?' 

The Prudentialities of Life 51 

But the old man was in sore pain, and only 
moaned. She opened the book. 

*Na, na, lassie,' he said, 'the storm's up noo; I 
theekit [thatched] my hoose in the calm weather!' 

We can learn no loftier philosophy than that from 
the story of Paul's summer call for his winter cloke. 
We must thatch our houses in the calm weather, and, 
later on, smile at the storm. Life's truest pru- 
dentiality lies just there ! 


are living in a very wistful world. It is all very 
well to say that people are irreligious, callous, in- 
different That is true ; but it is not the whole of the 
truth. When Mr. H. G. Wells' First Men in the 
Moon reached their lunar destination the moon 
seemed to them to be lifeless, derelict, desolate; but 
when they probed beneath the surface they found 
it teeming with pulsing life, and furious thought, 
and industrial activity. And the more deeply they 
penetrated into its cavernous tunnels and mysterious 
subways the more populous the place became. 
Which is, as Mr. Wells very possibly meant it to be, 
an allegory. It is when we look with superficial 
eyes upon the world that we are pessimists. When 
we scratch the surface we begin to behold the truth. 
One of those noble and graceful Hebrew metaphors 
which, for sheer literary beauty, have never been 
surpassed, reflects most perfectly the whole position. 
'My soul doth wait for the Lord more than they that 
watch for the morning; I say, more than they that 


The Face at the Window 53 

watch for the morning/ The image is one of ex- 
quisite tenderness and pathos. The night is long 
and dreary, and the tired watchers press their faces 
every now and then against the window-pane, eager 
to discover beyond the rugged ranges some grey 
glimmer of the coming dawn. The soul of many a 
man has its eastward aspect. There are great num- 
bers who dwell in chambers like that in which Chris- 
tian was lodged in the Palace Beautiful, 'whose 
window opened toward the sun-rising.' The soul of 
the psalmist is in the darkness, but his face is to- 
wards the dawn. We are in grave peril, in our 
pessimistic moods, of forgetting the face at the 
window. It is the essential feature in the present 
situation. There are pilgrims 'asking the way to 
Zion with their faces thitherward.' 

Let my meaning mirror itself in a pair of illustra- 
tions. Here are two such faces peering wistfully 
out from the dark. 

The first is that of Frank T. Bullen. In With 
Christ at Sea, he says, 'Arriving in Sydney, I soon 
succeeded in getting a berth as lamp-trimmer in one 
of the coasting steamers, and for the next twelve 
months made a pretty complete circuit of the Aus- 
tralasian colonies, living on the best of everything, 
earning good wages, learning all manner of things 
harmful to me, but never by any chance coming 

54 The Luggage of Life 

across any one who was Christianly disposed, and 
feeling myself less and less anxious to seek after 
God. Often I would stand on deck, when anchored 
in Sydney Harbour on Sunday morning, and listen 
to the church bells playing 'Sicilian Mariners,' with 
a dull ache at my heart, a deep longing for some- 
thing, I knew not what.' Thus ends the quotation; 
but the tragic fact is that there were excellent peo- 
ple, with Bibles and hymn-books, passing along the 
quay on the way to church, who glanced at the grimy 
young lamp-trimmer and thought him irreligious, 
callous, and indifferent! They failed to see the 
wistful face at the window. 

The other occurs in the memoir of Dr. H. Grattan 
Guinness. On one of the earliest pages we read: 
'Never shall I forget one evening, when the ship was 
anchored in a calm off Lowestoft, near Yarmouth, 
looking at the sun slowly setting in the west over the 
peaceful scene, the outline of a church spire rising 
among trees showing distinctly against the glowing 
sky. I was longing unutterably to be permitted to 
dwell in some quiet spot where, out of the reach of 
evil society and the voice of blasphemy, I might 
worship God and walk with Him in unhindered 

'Longing unutterably !' 'More than they that watch 
for the morning.' That is it ! 

The Face at the Window 55 

The fact is that we are too superficial. We glance 
at a man and at once tie an imaginary label round 
his neck. We classify him as a Christian, or as a 
heretic, or as a sceptic, or as a backslider; and we 
think that that settles it. But our work of classifi- 
cation is very much more complicated than we think. 
We forget that a saint and a sceptic can dwell to- 
gether in the same skin. Lord, I believe there you 
have the saint! Help Thou mine unbelief there 
you have the sceptic! The prophets loved to talk 
of a time when the wolf should lie down with the 
lamb; but in many a heart the wolf and the lamb 
dwell together even now. Great wickedness and 
great wist fulness often lodge in the self -same heart. 
The room may be very dark indeed, but the face 
is at the window looking towards the light. We are 
slow to learn the lesson that Robert Louis Stevenson 
tried to teach us in his allegory of Dr. Jekyll and 
Mr. Hyde. As the years go by we learn to econo- 
mize our labels. 

Dr. Campbell Morgan was recently asked by an 
interviewer for his view of the spiritual condition 
of London. 'On the one hand/ he replied, 'I see 
evidence of awful indifference, but on the other I 
see remarkable wistf ulness. I find that, when I get 
into touch with the most indifferent men, there is 
a great wist fulness that was absent a few years ago. 

56 The Luggage of Life 

The man who then told me that he was an agnostic 
still says that he is an agnostic, but he adds now 
that he dearly wishes he could believe as I do.' That 
testimony is significant. It means that the men who 
sit in thick darkness are moving towards the window 
and longing for the dawn. 

Dr. Douglas Adam has told us a striking story of 
Professor Huxley. 'A friend of mine,' says Dr. 
Adam, 'was acting on a Royal Commission of which 
Professor Huxley was a member. One Sunday he 
and the great scientist were staying in a little coun- 
try town. "I suppose you are going to church," said 
Huxley. "Yes," replied the friend. "What if, in- 
stead, you stayed at home and talked to me of your 
religion ?" "No," was the reply, "for I am not clever 
enough to refute your arguments." "But what if 
you simply told me of your own experience what 
religion has done for you?" My friend did not go 
to church that morning. He stayed at home and told 
Huxley the story of all that Christ had been to him. 
And presently there were tears in the eyes of the 
great agnostic as he said, "I would give my right 
hand if I could believe that!" Huxley's face was 
at the window, in spite of everything. 

But, of course, the peerless illustration of our 
point is the infinitely pathetic case of Professor 
Sidgwick. Has any minister ever read that life- 

The Face at the Window 57 

story with dry eyes? If so, we are sorry for his 
congregation. To enter into the cheerless realm of 
Sidgwick's scepticism is a more chilling experience 
than to penetrate polar solitudes. And yet no one 
can read that throbbing story without seeing a tear- 
stained face at the window. Long and wistfully 
the brilliant doctor strained his eyes, looking east- 
ward, but saw not the roseate flush of the dawn. 
He felt, through it all, that his doubt was his shame ; 
and his soul ached for faith. He literally longed 
for the light 'more than they that watch for the 
morning; I say, more than they that watch for the 
morning.' There was unbelief in his brain, but a 
wonderful wistfulness shone in his yearning eyes. 
Beneath his intellectual uncertainties he carried a 
pitifully hungry heart. Others such as Mill and 
Tyndall, Professor Clifford and Viscount Amberley 
might, of course, easily be cited to swell this cloud 
of witnesses ; but there is no need. 

Let us, however, before laying aside the pen, cross 
the ocean in order to inquire whether this strange 
and wistful craving is confined to grimy lamp-trim- 
mers like Frank Bullen, and to brilliant University 
professors like Henry Sidgwick; or is it to be dis- 
covered also in the regions beyond? And so soon 
as we step ashore it becomes manifest that, without 
an exception, the peoples who sit in darkness have, 

$8 The Luggage of Life 

nevertheless, their faces to the window. In every 
land 'there be many that say, Who will show us any 
good?' On continents and. on islands blind souls 
are everywhere groping after the light. It must be 
so. If, as Principal Iverach argues in his Christian 
Message, the Founder of Christianity be in very 
deed the Son of God, it is inconceivable that the hu- 
man heart can find its home in Mohammedanism or 
Buddhism. Only recently a great All-India Con- 
vention of Religions was held at Allahabad. Hin- 
duism, Islamism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, 
and Theosophy were all strongly represented. But it 
was agreed, by general consent, that the only mes- 
sage that 'struck warm' was the witness of the 
Indian Christians to the love and power of Christ. 
To that testimony a sympathetic chord of response 
vibrated in all hearts. And, at the close of the Con- 
vention, the Hindu secretary exclaimed, 'The one 
thing we could not have dispensed with was the 
Christian contribution!' It was like a streak of 
dawn streaming in upon the tired watchers of the 
night. 'The Lady of the Decoration' tells us that 
she saw in Japan 'a wist fulness that I have never 
seen anywhere else, except in the eyes of a dog.' 
The letters of our missionaries on every field often 
remind us of that unforgettable cartoon which ap- 
peared in Punch in the dark days of 1885. It repre- 

The Face at the Window 59 

sented General Gordon on the roof of his palace 
at Khartoum, shading his eager eyes with his hand 
and gazing with a look of unutterable wistfulness 
towards the sandy horizon, watching for that reliev- 
ing column that ultimately came too late. He waited 
for their coming more than they that watch for the 
morning. So do the nations. 

Sudden, before my inward open vision, 
Millions of faces crowded up to view, 

Sad eyes that said: 'For us is no provision, 
Give us your Saviour, too! 

'Give us,' they cry, 'your cup of consolation ; 

Never to our outreaching hands 'tis passed; 
We long for the Desire of every nation, 

And, oh, we die so fast!' 

These are the faces at the window. When little 
Bilney made his historic confession to Hugh 
Latimer, which lit that candle in England that has 
never been put out, an image akin to this haunted 
his imagination. 'Oh, Father Latimer/ he said, 
'prithee, hear me: when I read in the Latin Testa- 
ment of the great Erasmus these strange words 
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," 
it was with me as though in the midst of a dark 
night, day suddenly broke !' That is the daybreak 
for which the faces watch at the windows of the 

60 The Luggage of Life 

world 'more than they that watch for the morning ; 
I say, more than they that watch for the morning.' 
The exquisite winsomeness of the Christian evangel 
and the wondrous wist fulness of a waiting world 
are the two strong pillars on which we build our 
serene confidence in the day after to-morrow. 



I WAS enjoying the rare blessedness of an evening 
free from engagements. I was revelling in the 
luxury of a glorious arm-chair, a blazing fire, and a 
fascinating book. The children were seated at the 
table behind me, absorbed in the desperate hazards 
of the game that lay between them. The only noise 
was the rustle of the leaves of my book. But at 
length the silence was broken. 'You can't do that !' 
I heard one of the players cry, 'there are no back 
moves !' I read on; but had not gone far when I 
came upon this sentence: 'The unseen opponent in 
the great game of life, while scrupulously fair, will 
allow no back moves, and makes us pay in full for 
every blunder.' The words, of course, are Huxley's. 
I wonder if he is right ! I am not at all sure that he 
has spoken the last word. 

So many men find their lives entangled, prej- 
udiced, compromised, that unless you can promise 
them something in the nature of a back move the 
most you can offer seems so paltry and small. Go to 


62 The Luggage of Life 

an almshouse, for example, and the eld people will 
remind you that you can't give them their lives over 
again. Visit a jail, and, in some form or other, the 
terrible question will present itself in every cell: 
'Can I begin again at the point at which I went 
astray?' Talk to a man who is in the grip of the 
drink fiend. He does not doubt for a moment the 
willingness of God to forgive. He is even inclined 
to think it possible that the power of God might be 
able to keep him from the dreadful snare. But see 
the stain on his life! He thinks with unspeakable 
horror of his tarnished name, his humiliated wife, 
his trembling hand. Have you nothing to say to him 
about a fresh start, a clean sheet, a back move? If 
not, you will lose him in spite of everything. 

Now I imagine that most of us have passed 
through three distinct phases of thought on this sub- 
ject. I confess that I have. They are three in- 
evitable stages of development. First of all, there 
was the period at which we assured men, with the 
most sublime confidence, that their sins, like a dark 
cloud, could be blotted from the face of the sky and 
wiped into oblivion. The ugly stain, we told them, 
could be perfectly and eternally erased. We 
boasted, in our fine evangelistic fervour, that a 
sinner might not only be pardoned, but be justified. 
For a sinful man to be justified, we elaborately ex- 

Back Moves 63 

plained, was for a wicked man to be made as though 
he had never been wicked at all. Sin is not only 
forgiven; it is annihilated, cast behind God's back, 
hurled into the depths of the sea. Salvation, under 
that first interpretation, was nothing less than a 
magnificent back move. 

Then came doubts, suspicions, and the second 
phase. We found it was not all so simple as we 
thought. The jail-bird is converted; but who will 
trust him? The old record is so damning! The 
drunkard kneels in a tempest of tears at the penitent- 
form; but the bloated face, and the palsied hand, and 
worse still the awful craving are there still. We 
recalled John B. Cough's bitter, bitter cry: 'The 
scars remain!' he lamented, 'scars never to be 
eradicated, never to be removed in this life. I have 
been plucked like a brand from the burning; but the 
scar of the fire is on me !' And George Mac Donald 
emphasizes, with a very tender but a very telling 
touch, another aspect of the same problem. The 
passage occurs in Wilfrid Cumbermede. 'Do you 
know, Wilfrid, I once shot a little bird for no good, 
but just to shoot at something. I knew it was 
wrong, yet I drew the trigger. It dropped, a heap 
of ruffled feathers. I shall never get that little bird 
out of my head. And the worst of it is that, to all 
eternity I can never make any atonement.' 'But 

64 The Luggage of Life 

God will forgive you, Charley!' 'What do I care 
for that/ he rejoined almost fiercely, 'when the little 
bird cannot forgive me?' Yes, there is just that 
element in life that makes back moves very difficult. 
And, unhappily, the wreckage men have wrought 
is not always confined to a heap of ruffled feathers. 
What if, whilst Heaven absolves, earth finds it hard 
to entertain kind thoughts of us? What if, instead 
of little birds, our own flesh and blood rise up in 
judgment against us? There is, undoubtedly, a 
good deal to give pause to our early theology; a 
good deal to enforce the cheerless philosophy of 
Omar Khayyam: 

The Moving Finger writes ; and, having writ, 
Moves on: nor all your piety nor wit 

Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, 
Nor all your tears wash out a word of it. 

We abode among these sombre thoughts for many 
years, and fancied that we had reached finality. We 
pitched our tent in this dismal wilderness and re- 
garded it as home. We foolishly imagined that this 
was the last phase, and that there was no more to 
be said. And when the felon looked eagerly up into 
our eyes, as he sat in his lonely cell, and asked about 
the new start, the clean sheet, the back move, we 
were dumb. 

Back Moves 65 

Then came emancipation, and the third phase. 
And, as usual, the Bible brought it. We were brows- 
ing among the prophecies ; we came upon Jeremiah's 
story of the potter. 'Then I went down to the 
potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on 
the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay 
was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made 
it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter 
to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me 
saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as 
this potter? saith the Lord.' He made it again! 
That is surely as near to a back move as it is possible 
to get ! I remember hearing the Rev. F. B. Meyer 
tell of a woman who, on her way to commit suicide, 
heard the singing in Christ Church, Westminster, 
and stole into the porch. She was only a poor, 
soiled, broken bit of London's outcast womanhood. 
It happened that Mr. Meyer preached on the story 
of the potter, the vessel marred and remade. 
There was no further thought of suicide. She was 
charmed at the prospect of a back move. Surely 
when Jesus talked to Nicodemus of being 'born 
again/ He was promising a back move ! 

Then, too, in turning over these ancient proph- 
ecies, I came to Joel. Everybody knows that the 
entire prophecy of Joel was suggested by the his- 
toric and unprecedented plague of locusts which had 

66 The Luggage of Life 

just devastated the entire land. The very sun was 
darkened, the fields and vineyards were a howling 
wilderness, business in the city was paralysed; 
even the sacrifices in the Temple were suspended. 
In the midst of this awful visitation, this fearful 
scourge, this national calamity, the prophet was 
commanded to cry : 'Fear not, O land ; be glad and 
rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. I will 
restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.' 
And the promise, royally given, was royally fulfilled. 
The sun was once more shining out of a clear sky. 
The vines were bowing beneath the burden of 
wealthy and luscious clusters. The hills, with rich, 
delicious grass for the cattle, were as green as 
emerald. The valleys laughed and sang with their 
golden crops of corn. The city was humming with 
commercial prosperity. And, to crown all, the 
temple was once again crowded with devout wor- 
shippers. The years that the locust had eaten were 
all fully restored. 

Now if only I could go to that felon's cell, to 
that drunkard's home, and to a hundred other places 
that occur to me, with a message like that! 'I 
will restore to you the years that the locust hath 
eaten!' That would be grand! That would be a 
gospel of back moves with a vengeance! And may 
I not? Now let me think! 

Back Moves 67 

How was the promise fulfilled? How did the 
Most High restore the years that the locust had 
eaten? It is very simple. What the locusts took, 
they took; and there was no return. But the next 
year? Why, the next year the hills and valleys of 
Palestine were such a scene of abundant harvest 
and prodigal growth that the people were fully 
compensated for the loss of the previous season. 
Now, as the children say, we are getting warm ! 

Have we never known a life that, in its later 
years, displayed a sweetness and a purity and a 
grace which were the direct outcome of earlier 
suffering or of earlier sin? Can we not recall the 
memory of saintly and fruitful lives in which both 
the sanctity and the fruitfulness were the natural 
result of hideous memories of former transgres- 
sion? It was the haunting nightmare of their old 
sins that drove both Bunyan and Newton to such 
intense personal piety and to such fervent evangel- 
istic zeal. We have all known men who, in days 
gone by, lived in open and notorious shame. Then 
came the change. Their faith was a pattern to us 
all in its exquisite and childlike simplicity. The 
very enormity of their transgressions made religion 
a revelry to them and the thought of pardon a per- 
petual luxury. Their faces were radiant. They 
never referred to their experiences but with stream- 

68 The Luggage of Life 

ing eyes and faltering voices. Their testimony was 
so impressive as to carry conviction to all who heard 
it. And as we saw how strong men were moved by 
their utterance we felt that God, in His own wise 
and wonderful way, was restoring to them the years 
that the locust had eaten. In the familiar lines of 
Hezekiah Butterworth there are two significant buts, 
and we are in danger of noticing only the one : 

But the bird with the broken pinion 
Never soared so high again. 

This is the first. That is the truth that Huxley saw. 
But it is not the whole truth. There is another 

But the bird with the broken pinion 

Kept another from the snare, 
And the life that sin had stricken 

Raised another from despair. 
Each loss has its compensations, 

There is healing for every pain; 
Though the bird with the broken pinion 

Never soars so high again. 

And, surely, surely, to 'save another from the snare,' 
or to 'raise another from despair' is the very best of 
back movesl 'I do not regret the past,' cried the 
'Lady of the Decoration,' at the close of her story, 
'for through it the present is. All the loneliness, the 

Back Moves 69 

heartaches, and the pains are justified now! I 
believe that, whilst I have been struggling out here 
in Japan, God has restored to me the years that the 
locust had eaten, and that I shall be permitted to 
return to a new life, a life given back by God!' 
Who shall say that life has no back moves after 



WHILST the fire crackled cheerily between them two 
friends of mine discussed a knotty point. The ques- 
tion under debate was, briefly, this: Which is the 
most trying part of a long journey? One argued 
for the initial steps on setting out. The weary road, 
he said, stretches out interminably before you. 
Every stick and stone seems to be shouting at you to 
turn back and to take your ease. His friend, on 
the other side of the hearth, thought quite differ- 
ently. He contended stoutly for the final stage of 
the pilgrimage. He vividly pictured the exhausted 
pedestrian at the end of his journey, scarcely able 
to drag one blistered and bleeding foot in front of 
the other. It is certainly rather a fine point; but, 
after all, it was really not worth discussing, for 
nothing is more absolutely clear than that they were 
both wrong. Which, of course, is the usual fate of 

Now the worst part of a journey is neither at its 
beginning nor at its close. There is a certain in- 


The Tireless Trudge 71 

describable exhilaration arising from the making of 
the effort which imparts elasticity to the muscles and 
courage to the mind, at starting. The road seems 
to dare and challenge the pilgrim, and he swings off 
along the taunting trail with a keen relish and a 
buoyant stride. And, at the other end, the twinkling 
lights of the city that he seeks help him to forget 
that he is footsore and choked with the dust of the 
road. His blood tingles with the triumph of his 
achievement and the delight of nearing his goal. 
But there is another stage concerning which neither 
of my friends had a word to say. What of the 
intermediate stage? What of the long and lonely 
tramp? What of the hours through which no 
applauding voices from behind can encourage and 
no familiar fingers from before can beckon? This, 
surely, is the worst part of the way! There is no 
intellectual stimulant so intoxicating as the forma- 
tion of a noble purpose, the conception of a sudden 
resolve, the making of a great decision. And, in the 
luxurious revelry of that stimulus the prodigal finds 
it easy to rise from the degradations of the far coun- 
try and to fling himself with a will along the great 
Phoenician road. And at the other end! Surely 
the most overpowering of all human instincts and 
emotions is that which holds captive every nerve at 
the dear sight of home! No; neither the first nor 

72 The Luggage of Life 

the last steps of that familiar journey were very 
hard to take. But between the one and the other ! 
What questionings and forebodings ! What haltings 
and backward glances! What doubts and fears! 
Yes, there can be no doubt about it, both my friends 
were wrong. 

It is the intermediate stage that tests the mettle of 
the man. It is the long, fatiguing trudge out of 
sight of both starting-point and destination that 
puts the heaviest strain on heart and brain. That 
is precisely what Isaiah meant in the best known and 
most quoted of all his prophecies. He promises 
that, on the return from Babylon to Jerusalem, 
'they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their 
strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; 
they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall 
walk, and not faint/ Israel is to be released at last 
from her long captivity. Imagine the departure 
from Babylon its fond anticipations, its rapturous 
ecstasies, its delirious transports ! Those first steps 
of the journey were not trying; they were more 
like flying. The delighted people walked with 
winged feet. And the last steps with Jerusalem 
actually in sight, the pilgrims actually climbing the 
mountains that surrounded the holy and beautiful 
city what rush of noble and tender emotions would 
expel and banish all thought of weariness! But 

The Tireless Trudge 73 

Isaiah is thinking of the long, long tramp between 
the drag across the desert, and the march all void 
of music. It is with this terrible test in mind that 
he utters his heartening promise: 'They shall walk 
and not faint.' They would fly, as on wings of 
eagles, out of Babylon at the beginning; they would 
run, forgetful of fatigue, into Jerusalem at the 
end; but they should walk and not faint. That is 
life's crowning comfort. The very climax of divine 
grace is the grace that nerves us for the least 
romantic stage of the journey. Farewells and wel- 
comes, departures and arrivals, have adjusting com- 
pensations peculiar to themselves ; but it is the glory 
of the gospel that it has something to say to the 
lonely traveller on the dusty tract. Religion draws 
nearer when romance deserts. Grace holds on when 
the gilt wears off. 

Two cases come to mind. I know a man whose 
whole delight was in his boy a little fellow of six 
or so. Then, suddenly, like lamps blown out by a 
sudden gust, the lad's eyes failed him, and he was 
blind. The father was the recipient of scores of 
touchingly sympathetic letters. All sorts of people 
called. Kindly references were made in press and 
pulpit. The man had no idea until that moment that 
he had so many friends. All the world seemed to 
be paying homage to his sorrow. That was the be- 

74 The Luggage of Life 

ginning. After many years the boy had been taught 
to interpret the world again by means of his remain- 
ing senses. There was nothing he could not do. He 
earned his own living, and his sightlessness seemed 
no real hindrance to him. That was the end. But 
the father told me that the strain of it all came 
between these two. There came a time when the 
postman brought no cheering letters. Friends 
uttered no heartening words. The world had trans- 
ferred his boy's blindness into the realm of the nor- 
mal and the commonplace. Nobody noticed. But 
in the home the little fellow staggered about, and 
his parents' hearts ached for him. What was to 
become of him? It was during those intervening 
years lying between the first crushing blow and the 
final relief that the real strain came. That was by 
far the worst stretch of the road. 

I knew a woman. Without a moment's warning 
she was plunged into widowhood, and left to battle 
for her five little children and herself. There was 
an extraordinary outburst of affectionate sympathy 
on the part of all who knew her. Then came the 
funeral. After that the world went on its way again 
as though nothing had happened. That was the 
beginning. After the years, the battle had been 
well fought and well won. The children had been 
clothed, educated, and placed in positions of useful- 

The Tireless Trudge 75 

ness and honour. That was the end. But my 
widowed friend told me that she did not forget 
when the world forgot. Every morning her grief 
woke up with her. And every night it followed her 
to her rest. Every day, as she struggled for her 
little ones, the haunting question tortured her: 
What would become of them if sickness or death 
seized upon her? That was the killing time. That 
intermediate stretch was the worst part of the 
desolate way. 

As it is with individuals, so it is with great causes. 
A crusade is launched amidst vituperation, derision, 
and execration. And there is enough fight in most 
of us to lend a certain enjoyment to the very bitter- 
ness of antagonism. And at last the self -same 
movement is crowned with triumph. But the real 
inwardness of the struggle lies midway. William 
Wilber force used to say that he was less dismayed 
by the storm that broke upon him when first he 
pleaded the cause of the slave than by the 'long lull' 
that followed when the country accepted his prin- 
ciples, but did nothing to hasten their realization. 
In America the same thing happened. The war 
against slavery was undertaken with a light heart. 
Young men sprang to the front in thousands with 
the refrain of 'J^lm Brown's body' on their lips. 
But the real struggle was not then, nor towards the 

76 The Luggage of Life 

close, when victory and emancipation were in sight. 
But who can forget the long agony of disaster that 
intervened between those two? It was when the 
nation was trudging tearfully along that blood- 
marked track that the real suffering took place. 
The same experience repeats itself in the history of 
every great reform. Some one has said that every 
movement has its bow-wow stage, its pooh-pooh 
stage, and its hear-hear stage. Of those three 
phases the central one is infinitely the most diffi- 
cult to negotiate. Between the howl of execration 
that greets the suggestion of a reform and the shout 
of applause that announces its final triumph there 
is a long and tiresome stretch of steep and stony 
road that is very hard to tread. They are God's 
heroes who set a stout heart to that stiff brae, and 
walk and not faint. 

In his Autobiography Mark Rutherford tells of 
his fierce struggle with the drink fiend. On one 
never-to-be-forgotten night he resolutely put the 
glass from him and went to bed having drunk noth- 
ing but water. 'But,' he continues, 'the struggle 
was not felt just then. It came later, when the first 
enthusiasm of a new purpose had faded away.' 
And, in his Deliverance he applies the same prin- 
ciple in a more general way. He is telling of the 
stress of his life as a whole. 'Neither the first 

The Tireless Trudge 77 

nor the last/ he says, 'has been the difficult step with 
me, but rather what lies between. The first is 
usually helped by the excitement and promise of 
new beginnings, and the last by the prospect of 
triumph. But the intermediate path is unassisted 
by enthusiasm, and it is here we are so likely to 
faint.' I cannot close more fittingly than by setting 
those two striking sentences over against each other : 
'It is here we are so likely to faint/ says Mark 
Rutherford, speaking of the long and tiresome inter- 
mediate phase. 'They shall walk and not faint/ 
says the prophet in reference to precisely the same 
circumstances and conditions. Wherefore let all 
those who are feeling the toilsome drudgery of the 
long and unromantic trail pay good heed to such 
comfortable words. 


'UNCLE TOM and Eva were seated on a little mossy 
seat in an arbour at the foot of the garden. It was 
Sunday evening, and Eva's Bible lay open on her 
knee. She read : "And I saw a sea of glass, mingled 
with fire." "Tom," said Eva, suddenly stopping 
and pointing to the lake, "there 'tis !" "What, Miss 
Eva?" "Don't you see? there," said the child, 
pointing to the glassy water, which, as it rose and 
fell, reflected the golden glow of the sky. "There's 
a sea of glass, mingled with fire." 

The exegesis of Mrs. Stowe's frail little heroine 
is probably as near the truth as our best expositors 
are likely to carry us. I have known what it is to 
be surrounded by magnificent and mountainous ice- 
bergs in the Southern Ocean; I have been an awe- 
stricken admirer of the grandeur of a thunder-storm 
on the equator ; I have seen the seas in a passion as 
they responded to a gale off Cape Horn; but I 
must confess that one of the most splendid and im- 
pressive spectacles it has ever been my lot to witness 
was a tropical sunset at sea. The huge and angry 


Sunset on the Sea 79 

sun went down like a ball of livid fire. The sky 
seemed to have broken into flame. The sea was a 
sea of blood. The very foam on the tips of the 
waves was tinged with crimson. The outlook from 
the deck of the vessel was unforgettable the kind of 
thing to haunt you in your dreams. Everything 
was weird, awful, unearthly. And as I gazed upon 
the strange mingling of flood and flame I thought 
of John. The exiled apostle sat among the beetling 
cliffs of Patmos after having borne the burden and 
heat of the toilsome convict day. And at evening 
he gazed wearily and wistfully westwards towards 
those teeming centres of civilization into which he 
had hoped to carry the story of the Cross. And, 
even as he gazed, the cold Aegean Sea flamed with 
the glory of an Oriental sunset; and he beheld at his 
feet 'a sea of glass, mingled with fire.' 

The fact is that the seeming antagonisms of life 
are not so incongruous as we, in our superficial 
moments, are apt to suppose. We are in imminent 
peril of reaching false conclusions through taking it 
for granted that the other side of truth is always a 
lie. We forget that fire and water are in greater 
concord than we assume. Truth consists not in a 
part, but in the whole; and the separate parts of 
that whole are often apparently inconsistent. Pro- 
fessor Henry Drummond has shown us that the 

So The Luggage of Life 

'time was when the science of geology was inter- 
preted exclusively in terms of the action of a single 
force fire. Then followed the theories of an 
opposing school, who saw all the earth's formations 
to be the result of water. Any biology, any soci- 
ology, any evolution/ adds the professor, 'which 
is based on a single factor is as untrue as the old 
geology.' Geologians never approximated to the 
real truth until they saw 'a sea of glass, mingled 
with fire.' And from those ancient blunders of 
the geologians, our theologians, if they be discreet, 
may still learn much. Knowledge is not the mono- 
poly of any one of her numerous schools. 

The fact is that Truth is always and everywhere 
friendly to Truth. It therefore follows, as the night 
the day, that Truth need never be afraid of Truth. 
One man may interpret Truth in the terms of a sea 
of glass; another may interpret Truth in the terms 
of a flame of fire. A superficial hearer, listening to 
the two interpretations, will throw up his hands in 
horror. 'Babel and confusion!' he will cry. 
'Which is true and which is false?' But a wise 
man will listen reverently to both preachers, and 
will see that a sea of glass may quite easily, and 
quite naturally, be mingled with fire. A few years 
ago there awoke in Europe a spirit of scientific 
research. The geologist took his hammer and began 

Sunset en the Sea 81 

to search among the strata for truth. The 
astronomer swept the heavens with his telescope in 
his quest of truth. The antiquarian and historian 
went off together to the East with a spade, and 
began to dig in Palestine, Egypt, Asia Minor, and 
Assyria for truth. And there were excellent souls 
in all the churches who cried for mercy. 'Stop!' 
they cried, 'you will find something among stones or 
stars that will stagger our faith or shatter our 
serenity. You will dig up something in some lone 
Syrian town that will contradict our Bibles!' But 
Science would not stop. Investigation and scrutiny 
hastened forward. And with what result? We see 
now that, whilst Science appeared to our grandsires 
like a sea of glass, as compared with Revelation, 
which was like a flame of fire, the two are not 
contradictory or antagonistic. They harmonize and 
blend. And we to-day see 'a sea of glass, mingled 
with fire.' 

It is the glory of the Christian faith that it is im- 
mense enough to be able to contain within itself 
aspects and elements that at first sight seem strangely 
conflicting. I heard a preacher exulting in the 
tenderness and beauty of God's infinite love. The 
very same day I heard another speak of the severity 
and exactness of God's infinite justice. Surely he 
was speaking of a different God! But no; it is the 

82 The Luggage of Life 

same God, but such a God ! There is no conflict nor 
confusion. We are simply gazing at a sea of glass, 
mingled with fire. He is 'a just God and a Saviour.' 
And those who know Him and worship Him are 
like unto Him. Dean Stanley has a most exquisite 
passage, in which he extols these diverse qualities in 
the life of Arnold. He describes the perfect ease 
and delicacy with which Arnold revelled in the 
atmosphere of the home. Those who had only seen 
the stern schoolmaster in the halls of Rugby scarcely 
recognized him as he romped with the merry chil- 
dren by the hearth. And those who had only known 
him in the home, a man so engaging, so winsome, so 
delightful, listened as to ac strange language when 
others referred to his strictness and austerity. 'Yet/ 
says Stanley, 'both were perfectly natural to him; 
the severity and the playfulness expressing, each in 
its turn, the earnestness with which he entered into 
the business of life, and the enjoyment with which 
he entered into its rest/ In a word, his character, 
which was perhaps more reverenced than that of 
any man of his time, was like 'a sea of glass, mingled 
with fire.' 

The splendour of the sunset on the sea has a very 
practical application to the testimony and teaching 
of all the Christian churches. Let us take, by way of 
illustration, two extreme cases. I repeat that both 

Sunset on the Sea 83 

instances are necessarily and happily extreme. A 
fine church, splendidly upholstered and appointed, 
but only moderately attended. Its pulpit is regarded 
as the last word in scholarship and that is as it 
should be. But it is said to be 'cold.' The ministry 
is forbidding; the atmosphere lacks cordiality. On 
the way home the worshippers are arrested by a 
spectacle so remote from that from which they have 
just departed that they might almost mistake it for 
a representation of a different religion. A street 
preacher screams and yells in a frenzied monotone. 
His theology is almost brutal; his illustrations are 
shocking; his gesticulation is terrifying; his 
grammar causes even the children to smile. But 
his arresting passion, his grim earnestness, his trans- 
parent sincerity, his vivid realization of the awful 
realities of which he speaks these are beyond ques- 

If only the other preacher had caught something 
of his intensity, and if only he had taken the pains 
to acquire something of that preacher's erudition, 
what scenes might have been witnessed both from 
the cushioned pew and from the corner of the pave- 
ment! As it is, both are largely ineffective. The 
one is like the sea deep, but cold. The other is 
like the sun blazing, but wearying. The seer at 
Patmos saw that the ideal lies, not in the lowering 

84 The Luggage of Life 

of the scholarship of the one, nor in the reduction 
of the fervour of the other, but in the mingling of 
the two 'a sea of glass, mingled with fire.' The 
problem is not one of subtraction, but of addition. 
It is said that young men sometimes enter theo- 
logical seminaries overflowing, like volcanoes, with 
fires of enthusiasm that they can neither hide nor 
contain. And it is said, too, that they frequently 
emerge from those colleges like icebergs very im- 
pressive, but very cold. It is usually their own fault 
when such moral tragedies occur. At least, it is a 
thousand shames things should so fall out. The 
youthful fires ought to be fed and purified by the 
addition of knowledge. The minister, as he waves 
farewell to his Alma Mater, should carry with him 
his youthful ardour absolutely undiminished and 
unabated, with all his scholastic acquirements as a 
clear addition. 

Of all the rites and ordinances of Christian wor- 
ship the same may be said. Our services and 
assemblies are intended to be seas of glass, mingled 
with fire. Solemnity must be there, and dignity; 
but there must be emotion and deep feeling as well. 
Splendid music must be shot through with spiritual 
praise. Stately eloquence must be glorified by stir- 
ring passion. All the externals and ceremonials of 
worship are in themselves as cold as icicles. The 

Sunset on the Sea 85 

most beautiful and impressive ordinances are simply 
seas of glass till they are mingled with fire. It is 
only as they are made luminous with intense spirit- 
ual significance that they reveal their glory to the 
eyes of men. Nothing is more flat, stale, and un- 
profitable than an argument concerning the mere 
technicalities and externals of an ordinance. Yet 
nothing is more inflaming to all that is best within 
us than the actual commemoration of these lovely 
rites. Baptism, apart from the profound spiritual 
sanctions with which the Scriptures invest it, is a 
sea of glass. But with the realization of those inner 
mysteries and experiences, the waters flame and 
burn. Paul tells us that the same is true of the 
Lord's Supper. 'He that eateth and drinketh un- 
worthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, 
not discerning the Lord's body' To such a one, 
that is to say, the elements are dumb; the waters do 
not glow with fire. He sees the sea, but not the sun. 
Little Eva and Uncle Tom were, therefore, uncon- 
sciously embarking on a voyage amidst the eternal 
verities as they gazed upon the sunlit lake at New 
Orleans on that beauteous and tranquil Sunday 
evening. And we shall be permanently enriched if 
we catch something of the radiant significance of 
the vision that they saw. Our seas and suns -our 
floods and flames must mingle. 



THERE is something wonderfully restful to the eye, 
and strangely soothing to the mind, about the very 
environment of a first-class cricket-match. The 
green and tented field, fanned by the balmy breath 
of summer and fragrant with the peculiar but pleas- 
ant odour of the turf; the huge stands, musical 
with the hum of eager conversation and the ripple 
of easy laughter; the dash of colour imparted by 
gay dresses, fluttering flags, and the creamy flannels 
of the players ; and, last but not least, the immense 
crowd, garrulous with reminiscences of earlier con- 
tests and overflowing with geniality and good 
temper. And then, crowning all, the glorious game 
itself ! Harold Begbie does well to lilt its praise : 

England has played at many a game, and ever her toy was 

a ball; 
But the meadow game, with the beautiful name, is king 

and lord of them all. 
Cricket is king and lord of them all, through the sweet 

green English shires ; 
And here's to the bat and the ball (How's that?), and the 

heart that never tires. 


90 The Luggage of Life 

Nothing is more certain than that a recreation 
which holds the devoted attachment of a great 
people must, in the very nature of things, be pre- 
eminently a matter of morals. In his monumental 
work, The Rise of the D^utch Republic, John 
Lothrop Motley says that 'from the amusements of 
a people may be gathered much that is necessary for 
a proper estimation of its character.' And he pro- 
ceeds to demonstrate, with his wonted insight and 
sagacity, the truth of this general proposition from 
the experience of that sturdy little people whose 
most distinguished historian he must for ever 
remain. Goethe, too, that profound yet practical 
philosopher, has laid it down 'that men show their 
character in nothing more clearly than by what they 
think laughable.' And Macaulay, in paying tribute 
to Frederick of Rheinsberg, remarks that 'perhaps 
more light is thrown on his character by what passed 
during his hours of relaxation than by his battles or 
his laws.' The evidence of three such witnesses 
Motley, Goethe, and Macaulay must be regarded 
as indisputable. One has only to think of the gladi- 
ators and martyrs who were 'butchered to make a 
Roman holiday,' and to remind oneself that five 
thousand horses and twelve hundred bulls are an- 
nually slaughtered in Spanish bull-rings, to see that 
Paganism on the one hand, and Popery on the other, 

Clean Bowled! 91 

betray their characters in the very recreations of 
their devotees. From a gladiatorial combat in 
ancient Rome or a bull-fight in modern Madrid to a 
test cricket-match in England or Australia is a far, 
far cry. The question inevitably arises : What has 
made the difference? There is only one answer 
possible. It is the Cross I It is not too much to 
claim that the gospel of Jesus Christ has trans- 
figured and softened and beautified the very sports 
and pastimes of those who have come beneath its 

But the thing that has most impressed me, as I 
have watched these splendid contests, is the startling 
suddenness with which calamity swoops down upon 
a player, and imports a new atmosphere into the 
game. A man may bat most brilliantly for half a 
day. You watch him hour after hour. He blocks 
and cuts and pulls and drives with a consistency 
that becomes almost monotonous. Bowler after 
bowler is tried, but their task seems hopeless. Then 
a dog yelps behind you. You turn your head to 
see what is amiss, and in that fraction of a second 
there is a click and a cry and a cheer. And as 
you look hastily back to the field, you see the 
scattered stumps; and the hero of the hours is setting 
out from the crease to the pavilion. Before you 
turned your head you actually saw the bowler com- 

92 The Luggage of Life 

mence his delivery. He did not wave his hand and 
cry, 'This is the ball that is going to do it!' The 
men in the field gave no signal. The batsman 
looked as he had looked for hours. There was 
absolutely nothing to lead you to suspect that the 
fatal ball was actually leaving the bowler's hands. 
So suddenly, swiftly, sensationally like a bolt from 
the blue calamity pounces down upon a man, and 
there is no place for repentance though he seeks it 
earnestly with tears. The broken wicket is irrepar- 
able. He may explain and excuse, but he cannot 

I have been reading Mr. Stewart E. White's The 
Forest. It is a most entrancing description of travel 
with the Indians among the woods and waterways 
of North America. And it contains, among other 
fine things, a splendid chapter on 'Canoeing.' He 
says, inter alia, that 'in a four-hour run across an 
open bay you will encounter somewhat over a thou- 
sand waves, no two of which are exactly alike, and 
any one of which can swamp you only too easily if 
it is not correctly met.' Each wave, he tells us, has 
an individuality of its own. It requires a poise and 
a balance and a movement quite distinct from those 
demanded by any other wave. And he adds : Re- 
member this: be just as careful with the very last 
wave as you were with the others. Get inside before 

Clean Bowled! 93 

you draw that deep breath of relief. That sentence is 
sage, striking, significant. It seems to matter very 
little whether you are canoeing in America or 
cricketing in Australia; the same principle is at 
work. In the one case, the waves seem all alike; 
yet each wave has its own peculiar peril, and the 
Indian who, for one little second, is off his guard 
finds himself wallowing in the surging torrent. In 
the other case, the balls seem all alike ; yet each has 
a trick of its own, and the unhappy batsman who, 
for one instant, plays mechanically or carelessly is 
rudely recalled by the hideous rattle of the wrecked 
wicket behind him. In canoeing and in cricketing 
disaster leaps upon its astonished victim with such 
sensational swiftness. 

'In canoeing and in cricketing.' And in every- 
thing else for that matter. That is a trite and 
terrible verse of George MacDonald's: 

Alas, how easily things go wrong! 
A sigh too deep, or a kiss too long; 
And then conies a mist and a weeping rain, 
And life is never the same again. 

That is it. Life, for most of us, is wonderfully 
like the experience of the Australian batsman and 
the American boatman. It is very strenuous and 
full of peril. Every nerve is taut. Each wave and 

94 The Luggage of Life 

each ball must be negotiated as though all destinies 
hung trembling on our triumph over that particular 
wave, our mastery of that particular ball. Most of 
us can recall pathetic instances of crushing moral 
disaster. Their very memory casts a heavy gloom 
over our spirits still. Our idols fell, and we remem- 
ber the shock and the stagger. 'Who can see worse 
days,' asks Bacon, 'than he that, yet living, doth fol- 
low at the funeral of his own reputation?' It is 
absolutely the last word in human tragedy and sor- 
row. Yet how fearfully swiftly it all happened !. 
The thunder-bolt pounced out of a cloudless sky 
and stupefied us by its appalling suddenness. The 
morning of that moral shipwreck broke as calmly 
as any since the world began. The sun shone just 
as brightly; the birds sang just as blithely; the 
flowers bloomed just as sweetly; and all the world 
was fair. It was like the fatal ball and the fatal 
wave. There was nothing about that day to dis- 
tinguish it from any other day. Yet that day, in an 
unwary moment, the gust of temptation did what 
many storms had failed to do. The hero fell. In 
giving evidence at the memorable Tay Bridge in- 
quiry in Scotland, Admiral Dougall attributed the 
collapse of the great bridge to a sudden pressure of 
wind from an unaccustomed quarter. 'Even trees,' 
he added, 'are not able to resist pressure from un- 

Clean Bowled! 95 

usual directions. A tree spreads out its roots in the 
direction of the prevailing wind.' The moral is 

I find my hand trembling as I write. My peril 
is so intensely real and so terribly acute. I may 
bat for hours and pile up the centuries upon the scor- 
ingboard; and then, in the twinkling of an eye, a 
ball with a slightly different break may astonish me 
by compassing my downfall. I may battle for hours 
with the racing and foam-tipped breakers; and 
then, as suddenly as a lightning flash, a wave of 
innocent appearance but of peculiar peril may wreck 
my frail little craft within sight and sound of home. 
A gust of temptation from an unusual quarter may 
work for me such havoc as the sudden squall did for 
the famous Scottish bridge. Wherefore, says Mr. 
Stewart E. White, 'Remember this : be just as care- 
ful with the very last wave as you were with the 
others. Get inside before you draw that deep breath 
of relief.' And a still greater and even more experi- 
enced traveller adds: 'Let him that thinketh he 
standeth take heed lest he fall.' The logic of the 
flying bails is irresistible. And it is so wofully easy 
to be caught in the slips. 



I ENTERED a chemist's shop. The polite apothecary 
asked me to wait awhile, and, to save my soul from 
the tedium of staring vacantly at his immense 
coloured bottles, he very kindly handed me a copy 
of a magazine. It proved to be the current num- 
ber of The British Importer. It did not appear 
promising; it was scarcely in my line; the chances 
of a thrill seemed remote. I fancied that the 
coloured bottles might be more exciting, after all. 
But I suddenly revised my judgment. The word 
WARNING ! caught my eye. It was at the top of a 
reproduction of a card issued by the Incorporated 
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. It bore the 
signatures of the Princess Christian, the Earl of 
Derby, Lord Cromer, and a host of other dis- 
tinguished individuals. It proclaimed as its object 
that it aimed at the prevention of Climatic Fever, 
Malaria, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Coast Fever, 
Endemical Fever, Remittent Fever, and Bilious Re- 


Mad Dogs and Mosquitoes 97 

mittent Fever a truly terrible array. And it laid 
down, as an indisputable proposition, 

That the Bite of a Mosquito should be dreaded as 
much as that of a Mad Dog. 

I thanked her Royal Highness, I expressed my 
obligations to these noble lords and learned doctors 
for so interesting a statement so concisely phrased, 
and, laying aside The British Importer, from which 
I had imported as much as I could carry in one load, 
I gave myself furiously to think. 

The fact is, of course, that the mad dog has gone 
out of fashion. He had his vogue, and it was a 
great one while it lasted. But his day is dead. The 
turn of the mosquito has come. It is perhaps a 
little disconcerting and a little humiliating, but it is 
irresistibly true. And, since it is so resistlessly true, 
it is better to face the facts. In his magnificent 
History of the Nineteenth Century Mr. Robert Mc- 
Kenzie broke the news to us as gently as he could. 
That great chapter on 'The Redress of Wrongs/ 
which haunts the ear for ever like a shout of 
triumph, might have been entitled: 'The Slaughter 
of the Mad Dogs.' I very respectfully present the 
suggestion to Mr. McKenzie, with an eye to future 
editions. In that stately chapter he marshals the 

98 The Luggage of Life 

hideous injustices and social tyrannies under which 
men groaned but a generation or two ago. He re- 
cites, in glowing language, the glorious story of 
reform. And when he has told his thrilling tale, 
and has described the destruction of one monstrous 
evil after another, he brings his chapter to a con- 
clusion with a sentence that you learn by heart, 
simply because you cannot help it. 'The injustice 
of ages has been cancelled/ he cries triumphantly; 
'the Hampdens of the future must be contented to 
occupy themselves mainly with the correction of 
small and uninteresting evils.' The mad dogs are 
all slain, that is to say; the reformers of to-morrow 
must turn their attention, like the Princess and the 
peers whose proclamation set me scribbling, to the 
matter of the mosquitoes. 

In his Heretics Mr. G. K. Chesterton scented this 
truth of the mad dogs and the mosquitoes, but dis- 
tantly. He describes what he calls the war between 
the telescope and the microscope. Compared with 
this, he thinks, the war between Russia and Japan 
is but a storm in a teacup. In the past we have 
abandoned ourselves to the worship of bigness. We 
have strutted about the planet looking for big things, 
and the natural result is that we have found them 
all. Now what is to be done? The telescope is of 
no further use. And it's far too early to go to bed. 

Mad Dogs and Mosquitoes 99 

Out with the microscope! Make the stones tell 
their story. Let the leaf of every tree, and the wing 
of every fly, and the petal of every flower unfold 
their lovely tales. A fig for the telescope! Its 
pleasures are so easily exhausted. Hurrah for the 
microscope! Its domain is without limit; its future 
is eternal. There are at least a million million mos- 
quitoes for every mad dog. Then who cares for 
mad dogs? Let's get to the mosquitoes! 

Many years ago a singular custom prevailed in 
addressing children. The good man would look into 
the eyes of his youthful auditors, and, assuming a 
melodramatic tone, intended to convey the idea that 
he was about to impart something sensational, he 
would say : 'Peradventure, my boys, I am even now 
addressing some future Columbus or Captain Cook, 
some Polar explorer or celebrated discoverer !' And 
in those olden times the argument was very effec- 
tive ; but it has, of course, been blown to bits since 
then. The last time it was used, one of the boys 
asked permission to submit a question. 'What's the 
good of being a Christopher Columbus/ he asked, 
'now that you have no more Americas to be dis- 
covered? What's the good of being a Captain Cook 
now that we've seen pictures of every rock and reef 
that pokes its head out of the ocean? What's the 
good of being a Polar explorer when there are no 

ioo The Luggage of Life 

more Poles ?' That is the point. We cannot be ex- 
pected to supply new Africas for every budding 
Livingstone, new Mexicos for every prospective 
Cortes; and the supply of Poles is certainly shock- 
ingly limited. What then? Shall we put the 
shutters up? Not at all. 

When Major Leonard Darwin delivered his presi- 
dential address to the Royal Geographical Society, 
this matter of mad dogs and mosquitoes was evi- 
dently at the back of his mind. 'It is true/ he said, 
'that the South Pole is as yet uncaptured, that the 
map of Arabia is still largely composed of great 
blank spaces, and that the bend of the Brahmaputra 
is drawn by guesswork in our atlases. But it is 
probable that all these problems will be solved 
almost immediately. What, then, is there left for 
the Royal Geographical Society to do? The So- 
ciety must, then, direct its efforts with more per- 
sistence than heretofore in the direction of encourag- 
ing travellers to make detailed and systematic ex- 
aminations of comparatively small areas.' Bravely 
said! 'The mad dogs are nearly all slaughtered,' 
the learned President seems to say. 'Gentlemen of 
the Royal Geographical Society, let us turn our at- 
tention to the mosquitoes !' 'The Hampdens of the 
future must be contented to occupy themselves 
mainly with the correction of small and uninterest- 

Mad Dogs and Mosquitoes 101 

ing evils.' Exit the mad dog! Enter the mos- 
quito ! 

Wouldst thou be a hero? Wait not then supinely 
For fields of fine romance that no day brings; 

The finest work oft lies in doing finely 
A multitude of unromantic things ! 

But we must probe more deeply yet. The greatest 
word ever spoken about mad dogs and mosquitoes 
was uttered by Paul. He always seems to have 
the last word about everything. 'We wrestle/ he 
says, 'not against flesh and blood, but against spirit- 
ual wickedness/ Our fiercest fight, he tells us, is 
not with the coarse sins of the flesh mad dogs 
but with sins that are as insidious and ubiquitous 
and invisible as mosquitoes in the night. And, as 
our Princess and peers have told us, 'the bite of a 
mosquito is as much to be dreaded as that of a mad 
dog.' 'If/ says old William Law, 'we would make 
any real progress in religion, we must not only 
abhor gross and notorious sins, but we must regu- 
late the innocent and lawful parts of our behaviour 
and put the most common and allowed actions of 
life under the rules of discretion and piety/ That 
is precisely Paul's point. 

But by this time my reader can think of no one 
but Thomas Chalmers and his early ministry at Kil- 

102 The Luggage of Life 

many. How he thundered at the mad dogs! He 
preached against adultery and robbery and murder 
twice every Sabbath. But, as he himself confessed, 
no good ever came of it. Then came the memorable 
illness and his wonderful conversion. Every min- 
ister ought to give his people that great page of 
Scotland's spiritual history in Chalmers' own beau- 
tiful but billowy language. And after his conver- 
sion the mad dogs troubled Chalmers no more. We 
hear no more about sensuality about what Paul 
calls 'flesh and blood.' But, instead, we hear a great 
deal of a multitude of microscopic pests, of which* 
we heard no single word before. He laments his 
impetuosity; he deplores his being 'bustled'; he 
weeps over his coldness. 'Oh my sinful emula- 
tions!' he cries; 'my ambition of superiority over 
others ! my lack of meekness ! my want of purity of 
heart. My heart is overspread with thorns.' Here, 
too, is a record of a terrific tussle with a mosquito. 
'Had asked John Bonthorn to supper yesternight/ 
he says in his diary, 'and told him with emphasis 
that we supped at nine. He came this night at eight. 
All forbearance and civility left me, and with my 
prayers I mixed the darkness of that heart which 
hateth his brother. This is most truly lamentable, 
and reveals to me the exceeding nakedness of my 

Mad Dogs and Mosquitoes 103 

Yes, there is no doubt about it. These princes 
of the holier life Paul, and Law, and Chalmers 
know what they are talking about. Our real conflict 
is not with the mad dogs, but with the mosquitoes. 

Hear two witnesses. Professor Momerie asks: 
'Will you say that the man who has made your 
home a very hell by his morose and sullen temper is 
more righteous than the man who has stolen your 
handkerchief? Why, the misery caused by all the 
pickpockets in the world to the whole human race 
is less than that inflicted on your single self by the 
so-called little sins of your relative's detestable 
temper.' In his lovely essay on Charles Lamb, the 
Right Hon. Augustine Birrell, M.P., confesses that 
the gentle Elia was too fond of gin and water. But 
he asks if 'an occasional intoxication which hurt no 
one but himself is to be considered a more damning 
offence than the pale jealousy, the speckled malice, 
the boundless self-conceit, the maddening petulance, 
and the spiteful ill-will of others, who, though they 
lifted no glass to their lips, broke many hearts by 
their bitterness and envy? We find it hard to an- 
swer these questions of the learned professor and 
the distinguished statesman. But this much is clear : 
it is all a matter of mad dogs and mosquitoes. 

A young lady asked Charles Dickens to enter his 
confessions in her album. 'What is your pet aver- 

The Luggage of Life 

sion?' one question ran. To which Dickens replied, 
'Having the calves of my legs gnawed off by a mad 
dog !' The experience is certainly not alluring ; but, 
then, how many people have endured it? and how 
many have been tortured by mosquitoes? Mad 
dogs have slain their hundreds, but mosquitoes have 
slain their tens of thousands. For the venom of 
these tiny creatures is fearfully fatal. As witness 
the long list of fevers mentioned in the proclama- 
tion of the Princess and the peers, and attributed by 
them to the ubiquitous mosquito. Or ask Paul, or 
Law, or Chalmers, or the man whose face you see 
daily in the mirror. Wherefore, as the proclama- 
tion puts it, 'the bite of a mosquito should be 
dreaded as much as that of a mad dog.' The card 
bears the title, A warning to wise men. That is 
very suggestive ; there is no more to be said. 



I AM attracted to my present theme by the merest 
freak of circumstance. I was shown a most inter- 
esting letter. As I read that letter I felt as one 
might feel who is suddenly transported to Mexico 
or Tibet. Everything was absolutely foreign to 
me. The language was unfamiliar, and the atmos- 
phere was one which I had never breathed. As a 
matter of fact, it was the letter of an accomplished 
pianist concerning music and musicians. The writer 
lives, moves, and has her being in a world which, I 
blush to confess, I have never invaded. A message 
from Mars could not have possessed greater 
novelty. But let me hasten to the point. The 
writer speaks of her acquaintance with a certain 
eminent pianist whose recitals crowd the most spa- 
cious auditoriums in Europe with ecstatic admirers. 
But, our correspondent goes on to say, there is just 
one thing lacking. This brilliant pianist is a lonely, 
taciturn man, and a certain coldness and aloofness 
steal into his play. And then the writer of our 
letter mentions the name of a lady pianist. That 


io6 The Luggage of Life 

name is a household word in musical circles the wide 
world over; and the writer says that, to her per- 
sonal knowledge, this illustrious lady one day laid 
her hand on the shoulder of the brilliant young 
performer, and said : 'Will you let me tell you, my 
boy, that your playing lacks one thing. So far you 
have missed the greatest thing in the world. And, 
unless you fall in love, there will always be a certain 
cold perfection about your music. Unless you come 
to love another human being passionately and un- 
selfishly, you will never touch human hearts as 
deeply as you might.' 

Now I have confessed that when I read the letter 
in the presence of the person to whom it was ad- 
dressed, I felt myself a pilgrim in a foreign clime, 
as much abroad as an Esquimaux in Italy. But 
even an Esquimaux in Italy would at least be inter- 
ested, would look about and stare if he did not 
understand. I found myself similarly arrested. 
Then, becoming sceptical, I turned to the recipient 
of the letter and asked him if a very liberal dis- 
count might not reasonably be deducted in con- 
sideration of the pardonable enthusiasm and ex- 
cusable exaggeration of so attached a musical 
devotee? Did not imagination count for some- 
thing? 'Well/ replied he, 'the singular thing is that 
the writer of the letter was a pupil of the illustrious 

On Falling in Love 107 

lady pianist to whom she refers. One day, at the 
conclusion of a lesson, the pupil looked up into the 
face of her teacher and told her that she had a secret 
to reveal. 'I know you have,' replied the instructor, 
'although it is no secret.' The girl told of her en- 
gagement 'Yes/ answered the teacher, 'but it is 
not quite new ; it is some time ago !' 'That is so, but 
however did you know ?' 'I noticed the difference in 
your playing at once, and I have observed the 
change ever since. I was wondering when you were 
going to tell me!' 

I am still a stranger in a strange land. The 
flowers wear strange hues; the birds are of un- 
familiar plumage and of unaccustomed song; I do 
not understand the ways of the people; I cannot 
speak their language; I am all abroad, and hope- 
lessly lost. But I have been here long enough to 
satisfy myself that, strange as it all is, the country 
is a real country. The things at which I marvel 
are real things. I am not being tricked by a mirage. 
It is no illusion; I do not dream. 

It is worth thinking about, partly because the 
same sort of thing is to be met with in other realms 
than in that of music. It is not merely that love 
lends to life a new interest, a new rapture, or even 
a new outlook. Everybody recalls the lines of 
Tennyson's 'Lover'.: 

io8 The Luggage of Life 

Let no one ask me how it came to pass, 
It seems that I am happy, that for me 

A greener emerald twinkles in the grass, 
A bluer sapphire melts into the sea. 

But the suggestion in the letter that lies before 
me goes further than that. It means, if it means 
anything, that love liberates powers which before 
were simply latent. An Arctic explorer has re- 
cently drawn our attention to a most singular phe- 
nomenon. He tells us that some years ago a party 
of British sailors landed on an isle in the frozen 
North, and, by some mischance, set fire to the 
stunted vegetation that scantily clothed the inhospi- 
table place. They left it a bare and blackened rock. 
A few years later another party landed and found 
it clothed with a forest of silver birch-trees, with 
stems that glittered in the sunlight and leaves that 
quivered in the wind. It was a scene of sylvan love- 
liness. The flames had awakened slumbering seeds 
which, in the cruel grip of the icy cold, had lain 
dormant throughout the years. The wilderness had 
blossomed like the rose. Now the letter suggests 
that, when the soul of a man is stirred and swept 
by life's most masterful passion, new and unsus- 
pected powers spring into activity and fruition. 

Two instances leap to mind. I suppose Scottish 
literature holds no lovelier gem than the famous 

On Falling in Love 109 

letter of Dr. John Brown to Dr. John Cairns. It is 
printed in Rob and his Friends. In that letter Dr. 
Brown tells the pathetic story of Dr. Belfrage. Dr. 
Bel f rage's wife was a lady of great sweetness and 
delicacy. After less than a year of singular and 
unbroken happiness, she suddenly died. The doctor 
was disconsolate, and his grief was intensified by the 
reflection that there existed no portrait of his lost 
love. He resolved that there should be one. He 
had not an idea of painting. He had never touched 
an easel. He went to the nearest art emporium, 
procured all the necessary materials, shut himself 
up in unbroken solitude for fourteen days, and at 
the end of that time emerged from his seclusion 
bearing a portrait of his late bride which became the 
admiration of all who were privileged to behold it. 
'I do not know of anything,' says Dr. Brown, 'more 
remarkable in the history of human sorrow and 

The other case is, of course, that of Quintin 
Matsys. He was a Flemish blacksmith. He be- 
came deeply enamoured of the daughter of a painter ; 
but the painter had vowed that his daughter should 
marry none but a distinguished master of his own 
craft. Matsys laid down his hammer and left the 
forge; he entered a studio, and seized the brush. 
And to-day four centuries after his death pil- 

no The Luggage of Life 

grims and tourists cross Europe to gaze upon the 
mystery of his 'Descent from the Cross' in Ant- 
werp Cathedral, and his 'Two Misers' at Windsor. 
Ella Wheeler Wilcox, with her usual subtlety and 
discernment, has sung to us in a similar strain : 

Though critics may bow to art, and I am its own true 

It is not Art, but Heart, which wins the wide world over. 

Though perfect the player's touch, little if any he sways us, 

Unless we feel his heart throb through the music he plays 

It is not the artist's skill which into our souls comes steal- 

With a joy that is almost pain, but it is the player's feeling. 

I have thought though I hesitate to say it that 
all this may explain a mystery otherwise incapable 
of solution. I speak as to wise men. Many of us 
are teachers, officers, ministers, and the like. We 
are frequently confronted with doleful cries and still 
more doleful facts. Here are articles on 'The 
Dearth of Conversions/ and here are plaintive 
papers on 'The Arrested Progress of the Church.' 
Has my theme nothing to do with it ? I fancy it has. 
May not the ministry of the preacher, like the 
music of the player, lack that subtle element of pas- 
sion that makes just all the difference? I fancy I 
detect in my own ministry sometimes I will not 

On Falling in Love m 

dare to speak of the work of others that very self- 
same 'coldness and aloofness' which the lack of love 
explained in the distinguished pianist. 'Though I 
speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and 
have not love, I am become as sounding brass and a 
tinkling cymbal.' It is a very old complaint, but 
none the less tragic on that account. We take it 
for granted that we preach Christ because we love 
Christ ; but is the assumption always safe ? May we 
not rather cry, with Tennyson's poor fallen queen ? 

Ah, my God, 

What might I not have made of Thy fair world 
Had I but loved Thy highest creature here? 
It was my duty to have loved the highest! 

'The more I love Christ/ exclaimed Gustave 
Dore, 'the better I can paint Him !' Of course ! The 
most accomplished, the most biblical, the most 
evangelical ministry may, after all, resemble the 
playing of our European professor 'an indescrib- 
able coldness, a strange aloofness' one thing lack- 
ing. There can be no doubt that Love exercises 
singular influences and wields potent charms. 'Had 
I but loved!' cries poor Queen Guinevere in the 
anguish of her remorse. But no minister or teacher 
can afford to risk the visitation of that most 
poignant and pitiful regret. 



IN his scathing criticism of Bertrand Barere, 
Macaulay tells us that the subject of his strictures 
was a man who employed 'phrases in which orators 
of his class delight, and which, on all men who have 
the smallest insight into politics, produce an effect 
very similar to that of ipecacuanha.' I am afraid 
that, if the expressive condemnation which the his- 
torian thus sheeted home upon the world of politics 
were to be aimed in the direction of the Christian 
Church, she could not, without some equivocation, 
resist the dread impeachment. There is a classical 
Scripture example of the same phenomenon. Thou- 
sands of years ago a tortured soul sat patiently 
listening to the painful platitudes of his would-be 
comforters. They endeavoured to propound to him 
the significance of the afflictions by which he was 
overwhelmed. And when the last echo of the 
philosophy of Eliphaz had trembled away into 
silence, poor Job found himself impressed with 


Ipecacuanha 113 

nothing so much as with its utter insipidity. And 
it was then that he sighed out his immortal question : 
'Is there any taste in the white of an egg?' The dis- 
course to which he had listened had 'produced an 
effect very similar to that of ipecacuanha/ 

But that was in the days when the world was very 
young and men knew very little. Yet the same 
thing happens every day. Sir J. R. Seeley says, in 
Ecce Homo, that the sin which Christ most vigor- 
ously denounced is the sin to which the modern 
Church is most prone the sin of insipidity. The 
pious commonplaces with which we glibly attempt 
to solace the suffering are often pathetically taste- 
less. The man whose darling hopes have 'been 
cruelly shattered is told, with a serene smile and an 
upward glance, that 'it might have been worse.' 
The man whose heart is bleeding, and worse than 
broken, is reminded that 'these things cannot be 
helped.' We indolently surmise that 'it is all for 
the best.' Tennyson tells us of the pallid consola- 
tions which were offered him in that awful hour 
when the man with whom his soul was knit was 
snatched away to a premature grave : 

One writes that 'Other friends remain,' 

That 'loss is common to the race' ; 

And common is the commonplace, 
And vacant chaff well meant for grain. 

ii4 The Luggage of Life 

That loss is common does not make 

My own less bitter, rather more; 

Too common ! Never morning wore 
To evening but some heart did break. 

In other words, the poet asked : Is there any taste 
in the white of an egg? The comfort was insipid, 
tasteless; it produced an effect very similar to that 
of ipecacuanha\ 

Now, quite obviously, here is an evil thing and a 
bitter. We have no right to play with crushed 
spirits and breaking hearts. 'A man in distress/ 
says John Foster, 'has peculiarly a right not to be 
trifled with by the application of unadapted ex- 
pedients; since insufficient consolations but mock 
him, and deceptive consolations betray him.' I re- 
member very vividly a circumstance of my child- 
hood. It was my first introduction to the problem 
of human loss, and it profoundly affected me. I 
chanced to be standing, on a sunny afternoon, by 
the gates of the local infirmary. It was visiting day. 
As I watched the relatives arriving I was struck 
with the appearance of a big, brawny man from the 
country. He made no secret of his excitement. He 
had evidently counted the hours, and had spruced 
himself up like a village bridegroom for the occa- 
sion. He approached the porter : 'I've come to see 
my wife, Martha Jennings,' he said. The porter 

Ipecacuanha 115 

consulted a book, and then, with what seemed to be 
brutal abruptness, replied: 'Martha Jennings is 
dead!' I saw the bronzed face blanch; I saw the 
strong man stagger. I watched him as he clung to 
the iron palings for support, and bowed himself in 
a passion of weeping. And then, as I stood there, 
good-natured people, pitying, essayed to comfort 
him. They rang the changes on the commonplaces. 
'Other friends remain !' 'Loss is common to the race !* 
But it was of no use : 'All vacant chaff well meant 
for grain.' It produced an effect very similar to 
that of ipecacuanha! I have never entered the 
chamber of death in all the years of my ministry 
without recalling the tragedy I witnessed that Sun- 
day afternoon. 

Now, in the cases before us, what was wrong? 
This was wrong. In all these platitudes that were 
tossed to Tennyson and to my friend at the hospital 
yesterday, and to Job the day before, four vital 
aspects of suffering were overlooked. 

i. Our commonplaces of comfort are insipid be- 
cause they ignored the illuminative aspect of 
anguish. We forget the flood of light that streams 
from the Cross and that has transfigured tears for 
ever. Such frigid philosophy as that which we have 
quoted can be found in Marcus Aurelius, in Plato, 
and in all the stoical philosophers. And in them it 

n6 The Luggage of Life 

is pardonable, even admirable. But from those who 
live in the light, better things are hoped. Christ 
has come! And from His disciples the weep- 
ing sons of sorrow expect, not the stone that would 
have been flung them by the Platonic school- 
master, but the bread and wine of the kingdom of 

2. The insipidity of our consolations often arises 
from the fact that we ignore the purgatorial aspect 
of pain. As though the torments of his body were 
not enough, Eliphaz tortured the soul of Job by tell- 
ing him that purity and pain were incompatible, and 
that his suffering was the result of his sin. 'Who 
ever suffered being innocent?' he stupidly asks. It 
is the philosophy of the pessimist. It relates all 
suffering to a black, black past as penal. But the 
theology of the optimist relates all suffering to a 
bright, bright future as purgatorial. Poor Eliphaz 
did not know, but we ought not to forget that a lamb 
which was ever the emblem of innocence has become 
also the symbol of suffering. If the doctrine of 
Eliphaz were sound, the sufferer can only grin and 
bear it. But it is not sound. And therefore the 
New Testament selects, as its word for suffering, 
the great word 'tribulation,' which reminds us of the 
'tribulum/ the threshing-machine whose work is not 
to punish the wheat, but to sift it. The fires of God 

Ipecacuanha 117 

are never to devour, but ever to refine. It was be- 
cause Eliphaz failed to remind Job of this that his 
hearers found the sermon so tedious. It made him 
cry, as with Hamlet: 

O God ! O God ! 
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable ! 

It produced an effect very similar to that of 
ipecacuanha ! 

3. The insipidity is always manifest when the 
sacrificial aspect of suffering is ignored. There is a 
sense in which every sob is a sacrament. The sign 
of the Cross is stamped on all human anguish. You 
suffer for my good, and I bear sorrow for yours. 
Dickens unfolds this wonderful secret in David 
Copperfield. Mrs. Gummidge is the most self- 
centred, ill-content, cross-grained woman in Yar- 
mouth. Then comes the angel of sorrow. All those 
around her are plunged in the shadow of a terrible 
calamity. And, in ministering to them, the whole 
life and character of Mrs. Gummidge was trans- 
figured. David stood in amazement before the 
strange and beautiful transformation. 

If none were sick and none were sad, 

What service could we render? 
I think if we were always glad, 

We scarcely could be tender. 

n 8 The Luggage of Life 

Did our beloved never need 

Our patient ministration, 
Earth would grow cold, and miss, indeed, 

Its sweetest consolation. 

If sorrow never claimed our heart, 

And every wish were granted, 
Patience would die, and hope depart 

Life would be disenchanted. 

4. And the insipidity of our consolations often 
arises from their neglect of the positive or possessive 
aspect of human loss. Whatever has been swept 
away in the terrible cataclysm, the best always re- 
mains. In Lord Beaconsfield's great novel he tells 
how Coningsby, in bemoaning the loss of his fortune, 
is suddenly reminded that he still possesses his limbs. 
In The Scapegoat Hall Caine tells how Israel left his 
little blind and deaf and dumb daughter Naomi, and 
wandered through the wilderness of this world. 
And he saw a slave-girl sold in the market-place, 
and he thanked God that his Naomi was free. And 
he heard the girl curse her father, and he thanked 
God for the deep love of poor little Naomi. And he 
saw a poor little girl that was a lunatic, and he 
thanked God that Naomi had her reason clear. And 
then the great deprivations of Naomi seemed swal- 
lowed up in the treasures that she still possessed. 
As Mrs. Browning sings : 

Ipecacuanha 119 

All are not taken; there are left behind 
Living Beloveds, tender looks to bring, 
And make the daylight still a happy thing, 

And tender voices to make soft the wind. 

That is a great sentence of two words that the 
Mohammedan always engraves on the tombstones 
of his departed : God remains! Let us but cast these 
four ingredients into the chalice of comfort that 
we are preparing for the quivering lips of our weep- 
ing friends, and, so far from it producing an effect 
that shall resemble ipecacuanha, it shall seem to them 
as bracing and invigorating as the new wine of the 
kingdom of heaven. 

I AM writing on a hot Australian summer after- 
noon. The children are at home from school. The 
cities are sultry and stifling. The delicious seclu- 
sion of the fields and the refreshing cool of the sea- 
side beckon us away. The bush and the beach call 
loudly. And even the solitudes seem to feel that 
their time has come. The wilderness blossoms like 
the rose. Settlements that all through the winter 
have been dreary desolations of mud and monotony 
become transformed into fairylands of poetry and 
romance. The great bush silences are broken by 
shouts of merriment and peals of laughter. Columns 
of smoke curl upwards, and bear witness to picnics 
and camp-fires. Boats dart in and out of every 
quiet creek and cove. Birds that have twittered and 
piped on dripping boughs throughout the winter 
without an audience are frightened hither and 
thither by a rush of white blouses and straw hats. 
It is all very refreshing and very delightful. But, 

1 20 

Seaside Lodgings 121 

with the return of the holiday season, comes back 
the old problem of seaside lodgings and holiday 
accommodation. Which reminds me. 

Lovers of Mark Rutherford and the number in- 
cludes all who know him will never forget Mary 
Mardon. She casts her tender spell over every 
fascinating page. And not least among her charms 
is her description of her visit, with her father, to 
the seaside. 'The railway station was in a dis- 
agreeable part of the town, and when we came out 
we walked along a dismal row of very plain-looking 
houses. There were cards in the window with 
"Lodgings" written on them, and father wanted to 
go in and ask the terms. I said I did not wish to 
stay in such a dull street, but father could not afford 
to pay for a sea-view, and so we went in to inquire. 
We then found that what we thought were the 
fronts of the houses were the backs, and that the 
fronts faced the bay. They had pretty gardens on 
the other side, and a glorious, sunny prospect over 
the ocean.' 

So much for Mark Rutherford and Mary Mar- 
don. I fancy this kind of thing is more common 
than we often think. The lodgings from which we 
eventually obtain our loveliest views are frequently 
rather forbidding than prepossessing. They ban 
rather than beckon. We dub those dwellings dull 

i22 The Luggage of Life 

from whose windows we afterwards catch glimpses 
of radiant glory. 

For the most obvious application of this homely 
truth we need not go beyond the delightful charac- 
ters whom we have already introduced. Turn back 
a few pages to Mark's first meeting with Mary. 
Whilst he debated vigorously with her father she 
sat silently by. He mentally accused her of intel- 
lectual paucity, of possessing a small mind, and of 
a stupid inability to discuss important themes. He 
looked upon her exactly as she had looked upon 
the repulsive houses by the seaside. But he was as 
utterly mistaken as was she. It turned out that she 
was being tortured that evening by a maddening 
neuralgia. He then penitently reflected that, had 
such anguish been his, he would have let all the 
world know of it. And, he says, 'thinking about 
Mary as I walked home, I perceived that her ability 
to be quiet, to subdue herself, to resist for a whole 
evening the temptation to draw attention to herself 
by telling us what she was enduring, was heroism, 
and that my contrary tendency was pitiful vanity. 
I perceived that such virtues as patience and self- 
denial which, clad in russet dress, I had often 
passed by unnoticed when I had found them amongst 
the poor or the humble were more precious and 
more ennobling to their possessor than poetic yearn- 

Seaside Lodgings 123 

ings or the power to propound rhetorically to 
the world my grievances or agonies.' This experi- 
ence of Mark Rutherford in relation to Mary 
Mardon is clearly the precise social counterpart 
of her own experience in relation to the seaside 
lodgings. And later on, as every reader knows, she 
gave to him, as the lodgings gave to her, many 
a glorious outlook upon the infinite and the 

All this is, of course, true of the Church. The 
men of Jerusalem looked up at the spacious and 
splendid proportions of the Temple. It was a 
stately pile of quarried stone. That was the outside 
view. But those who were permitted to stand 
amidst the awful sanctities of the Most Holy Place 
saw that, within, all was of finest gold. It is a 
parable. Readers of Bunyan's immortal allegory 
must have noticed that the illustrious dreamer took 
no pains to give an attractive impression of the ex- 
terior of the Palace Beautiful. But, like the king's 
daughter, it was 'all glorious within.' And notice 
this: 'When the morning was up they had 
Christian to the top of the palace, and bid him 
look south. And, behold, at a great distance, he 
saw a most pleasant, mountainous country, beau- 
tified with woods, vineyards, fruits of all sorts, 
flowers also, with springs, and fountains, very 

124 The Luggage of Life 

delectable to behold. Then he asked the name 
of the country; they said it was IMMANUEI/S 

We have no word to say in disparagement of 
those who devote their best efforts to the attempt 
to render the Church attractive and alluring. But 
we venture to suspect that their most strenuous 
exertions will never meet with more than a very 
moderate success. After you have insisted, and 
rightly insisted, that there should be no oratory 
to compare with pulpit oratory, and no music that 
can hold its own beside church music, you have still 
to admit that, so long as the Church sternly adheres 
to that spiritual programme for which alone she 
stands, she will always appear, like Mary Mardon's 
seaside lodgings, somewhat forbidding and repel- 
lent. Christian worship is too exquisitely modest 
for gaudy display. Sin, righteousness, and judge- 
ment are not themes that lend themselves to merri- 
ment. There is nothing wildly exciting about a 
prayer-meeting. Yet, like the seaside lodgings and 
the Palace Beautiful, the Church has her own pecu- 
liar and compensating charms. She quickly dis- 
pels all unhappy illusions caused by superficial im- 
pressions. To those who enter her portals she offers 
coigns of vantage from which they may inhale the 
delicious fragrance of the fairest flowers and enjoy 

Seaside Lodgings 125 

a prospect that ravishes the vision and captivates the 

And, after all, it is just that view for which we 
are all hungry. I have amused myself, since taking 
Mark Rutherford down from my shelf for the pur- 
poses of this article, by turning over the pages 
hastily, and noticing his constant references to star- 
lit walks. Now he is worried, and that sight of the 
stars that sense of the infinite 'extinguishes all 
mean cares/ On another occasion he is oppressed 
by the conviction that 'there is nothing in him.' 
He walks beneath the stars and feels that, in a 
universe of such incomprehensible immensity, there 
is room for every worm that crawls, and, therefore, 
a place for him. Again, he is aflame with anger. 
He walks beneath the stars, and, 'reflecting on the 
great idea of God, and on all that it involves, his 
animosities are softened and his heat against his 
brother is cooled.' We have found at least a dozen 
such passages in this one book. They are sugges- 
tive. Mark Rutherford surely means that the in- 
finite cures everything. He means that, to conquer 
our besetments, to subdue our passions, to realize 
our best selves, we need the window open toward 
Jerusalem, the sunny outlook on the eternal. And 
he means, too, that to obtain that vision splendid we 
dare not despise the most uninviting ministries. 'A 

i26 The Luggage of Life 

dismal row of plain-looking houses' so they 
seemed. 'What we thought were the fronts were 
the backs, and the fronts faced the bay. They had 
pretty gardens on the other side, and a glorious 
sunny prospect over the ocean' so they actually 

Somebody has said that God must be very fond 
of commonplace folk He makes so many of them. 
Life is full of dingy-looking places and shabby- 
looking people. But we shall do well to think the 
thing all over again before, on that ground, we 
exclude them from our affections and our confidence. 
As the years come and go we learn that the best 
and most satisfying springs are those from which, 
on their discovery, we expected least. Our most 
treasured friends are not always those with whom 
we fell in love at first sight. In his wonderful Life 
of the Bee Maeterlinck tells us at least one thing to 
which we may do well to take heed. At one time, 
he says, it was almost impossible to introduce into 
a hive an alien queen. The myriad toilers would 
at once assume that she was an enemy, and set about 
her destruction. But now the apiarist introduces 
the new queen in an iron cage, with a door skilfully 
constructed of wax and honey. The bees im- 
mediately commence to gnaw their way through 
the door to murder the intruder; but, in the tedious 

Seaside Lodgings 127 

process, they are compelled carefully to observe the 
royal prisoner. And, by the time that the waxen 
palisade is demolished, they have learned to love 
her; and they finish up by doing her homage and 
becoming her devoted slaves. So true is it that the 
forbidding may eventually become the fascinating; 
the repulsive may end in the romantic; the prose 
may kindle into poetry; the sombre shadows may 
dissolve into radiant reality; the dingy lodgings 
may open to us dazzling horizons; life's mocking 
mirages often pass into most satisfying streams. 

If it comes to attractive exteriors and enticing 
advertisements, theology cannot hold a candle to 
theatricals, nor prayer-meetings to picture-shows. 
But they have most radiant outlooks for all that. 
And have we not somewhere read of One who is 
spoken of by those who are happy enough to know 
Him as the fairest among ten thousand and the 
altogether lovely? Yet, when first they saw Him, 
He was to them as a root out of a dry ground, hav- 
ing no beauty that they should desire Him! But 
I have said enough by this time to show that the 
experiences of Mark Rutherford and Mary Mardon 
have warnings of the gravest moment for us all. 


MRS. BARCLAY, in The Rosary, says a fine thing 
about those towering walls of chalk that guard the 
English coast. She describes her heroine the Hon. 
Jane Champion returning to England after an 
absence of two years. 'The white cliffs of Dover/ 
she says, 'gradually became more solid and distinct, 
until at length they rose from the sea, a strong 
white wall, emblem of the undeniable purity of 
England, the stainless honour and integrity of her 
throne, her Church, her Parliament, her courts of 
justice, and her dealings at home and abroad, 
whether with friend or foe. Strength and White- 
ness! thought Jane, as she paced the steamer's 
deck ; and, after a two years' absence, her heart went 
out to her native land.' 

'Strength and Whiteness' those two are in- 

The principle holds, of course, in the realm to 
which Mrs. Barclay specially applies it. Nobody 
who has once read Macaulay's essay on Lord Clive 
can ever forget the classic and stately sentences in 


The Cliffs of Dover 129 

which the historian pays his tribute to British rule 
in India. He shows that the stability of our govern- 
ment lies in its justice, its uprightness, its trust- 
worthiness. "English valour and English intelli- 
gence,' he says, 'have done less to extend and to 
preserve our oriental empire than English veracity. 
All that we could have gained by imitating the 
doublings, the evasions, the fictions, the perjuries, 
which have been employed against us is as nothing 
when compared with what we have gained by being 
the one Power in India on whose word reliance 
can be placed. No oath which superstition can 
devise, no hostage, however precious, inspires a 
hundredth part of the confidence which is produced 
by the "Yea, yea" and "Nay, nay" of a British 
envoy. The greatest advantage which a Govern- 
ment can possess is to be the one trustworthy Gov- 
ernment in the midst of Governments which nobody 
can trust. This advantage we enjoy in Asia.' It 
would be difficult to subpoena a witness more im- 
pressive or convincing. 

But there is one most pertinent application of 
the principle for which, it seems to me, the times 
are clamorously and insistently calling. In thase 
lands, and in these days, two truths demand itera- 
tion and emphasis in relation to all matters of 
politics and all affairs of State. Let it be said, as 

130 The Luggage of Life 

plainly as language can assert it, first of all that the 
nation needs strong men, and then that the strong 
men are the white men. That people has fallen on 
very evil days that finds itself in the grip, and at the 
mercy, of the professional politician. A pair of 
instances, both very much to the point, will enforce 
my meaning. The first is from Sir James Stephen's 
Essays in Ecclesiastical Biography. The professor 
points out that William Wilberf orce lived his parlia- 
mentary life as a contemporary of William Pitt, 
Edmund Burke, Charles James Fox, and Richard 
Brinsley Sheridan. Here was a galaxy of brilliance 
the most polished and powerful orators who ever 
awoke the classic echoes of St. Stephen's ! Wilber- 
force's figure conveyed the inevitable impression of 
insignificance. Yet when he rose to address the 
Commons the House instantly crowded. Members 
held their breaths to listen. The little reformer 
spoke with an authority rarely wielded by the 
greatest masters. He was heard in a silence, and 
with a respect, which were never accorded to those 
illustrious statesmen whose utterances are to this 
day read in schools and colleges as models of 
rhetoric. And why? There is only one reason for 
it. Like Sir Galahad 

His strength was as the strength of ten, 
Because his heart was pure. 

The Clifis of Dover 131 

The second of these companion pictures is from 
Sir Henry W. Lucy's Sixty Years in the Wilder- 
ness. In the last chapter of this fascinating book 
the author draws a striking contrast between John 
Bright and Benjamin Disraeli. 'Disraeli,' he says, 
'lacked two qualities, failing which true eloquence 
is impossible : he was never quite in earnest, and he 
was not troubled by dominating conviction/ Now 
for the contrast. 'John Bright, perhaps the finest 
orator known to the House of Commons in the last 
half of the nineteenth century, was morally and 
politically the antithesis of Disraeli. To a public 
man this atmosphere of acknowledged sincerity and 
honest conviction is a mighty adjunct of power/ 
Here, then, in both pictures, we have the conjunc- 
tion of whiteness and strength; incorruptibility 
wedded to omnipotence. This marriage was made 
in heaven. These two God hath joined together. 

I have emphasized the national and political 
aspect of the truth because the conviction grows 
upon me that we sadly need the reminder. But 
I should be exceedingly sorry to leave the impres- 
sion that the application was by any means exclu- 
sive. It is just as true of every walk of life and of 
every department of service. I turn the lantern on 
my own heart and study and pulpit, and upon those 
of my brethren. In a recently published work, the 

132 The Luggage of Life 

Rev. J. D. Jones, of Bournemouth, says a very 
gracious thing concerning a ministerial friend of 
his: 'In print his sermons are almost dull, as they 
are certainly lacking in literary style. But when 
you come into his presence, the transparent honesty 
and obvious saintliness of the man lend to his words 
compelling and subduing force.' 'I cannot under- 
stand your minister's power,' said a visitor to a 
friend of mine who was a member of a Midland 
church to which a man ministered who was not a 
great preacher, perhaps, but who was a great saint ; 
'I cannot understand your minister's power/ he 
said; 'I do not see very much in him.' 'Ah,' re- 
plied the host, 'you see, there are thirty years of 
holy life behind every sermon.' There is no doubt 
about it. Whiteness is strength. The white men 
wield the sceptre, and we are all their slaves. 

But the last word has yet to be said. A most 
interesting play of language occurs in the last book 
of the Bible: 'I saw a strong angel proclaiming 
with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book 
and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in 
heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was 
able to open the book, neither to look thereon.' It 
will be noticed that the words worthy and able are 
treated as though they were interchangeable and 
synonymous, as indeed they are. The worthy are 

The Cliffs of Dover 133 

the able. Whiteness is strength. Might is not 
always right, but right is always might. God is not 
always on the side of the big battalions, but the big 
battalions are always on the side of God. That is 
why the meek inherit the earth. 'And I beheld, and 
lo, a Lamb sublimest symbol of innocence, white- 
ness, meekness and He came and took the book. 
And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art 
worthy! . . . Worthy is the Lamb!' And just be- 
cause He was worthy, it followed, as the night the 
day, that He was able. 

We have traced this truth from the cliffs of Dover 
right up to the dizziest pinnacle to which human 
eyes can peer. From the great white stone to the 
Great White Throne this thing holds grandly true. 
Whiteness and strength; innocence and omnip- 
otence; right and might, they go side by side, and 
hand in hand, both in the heavens above and on the 
earth beneath. That was what Mrs. Barclay's 
heroine saw in symbol as she gazed upon the white 
walls of old England. And the seer who, from the 
isle that is called Patmos, beheld the gleaming 
towers and shining turrets of the Celestial City, 
saw nothing greater. 


THE organist is an ecclesiastical vagabond. He is 
a nomad and a nondescript. He lives in a kind of 
No-man's land. In the rationale of our spiritual 
economy he has never been provided with a home. 
We have never taken the trouble to place him. We 
have ministers, and we know why we have them. 
Deacons and teachers and choirs we have, and their 
contribution to our worship is well defined and 
clearly understood. But we allow the organist, as 
organist, to hover spectrally on the frontiers of our 
religious domain. We have never made up our 
minds as to whether he is simply a cog-wheel in 
the cold mechanism of our church organization or 
one of the controlling forces of the inner life of the 
sanctuary. Is he, in a word, one of those reviving, 
quickening, spiritual factors that are an essential 
part of our worship and testimony, or is he merely 
a necessary appendage, a convenient adjunct, 
an entertaining auxiliary? Is he a member of the 
family, or merely a distant relative, or, perchance, 
a nodding acquaintance? We offer him a chair 


The Organist 135 

or at any rate a stool on Sundays and at choir 
practices; then he folds his tent, like the Arab, and 
silently steals away. We scarcely know where to 
place him. Is he inside or outside? Is he a partner 
or a passenger? In fairness to him, and in justice 
to ourselves, we ought to face the problem. We 
must classify and locate him. Too long the 
Church has said to the organist, 'The minister we 
know, and the choir we know, but who are you !' 

Now, there are very few subjects that have be- 
trayed their exponents into more obvious confusion 
of thought than the attempt to define the exact 
relationship existing between minstrelsy and minis- 
try. The case for the organist has never yet been 
satisfactorily stated, either from the purely musical 
or from the purely ecclesiastical view-point. Here, 
for example, Charles Santley, in his Reminiscences, 
tells us that his master, Nava, at the Conservatoire 
at Milan, used to insist 'that the object of music 
was to give greater expression and emphasis to the 
words/ Which, of course, is unadulterated non- 
sense. It is true enough of certain forms of vocal 
music, but the sweeping and merciless dictum ruth- 
lessly excommunicates the blackbird and the thrush, 
the nightingale and the canary, and at the same time 
cuts the throat of our unhappy organist. If we 
subscribe to the daring proposition we condemn the 

136 The Luggage of Life 

'Dead March' and the 'Wedding March' as inanities, 
and all our organist's wordless voluntaries become 
impertinences of the worst kind. It is clear, there- 
fore, that, whilst our Milanese master is indisput- 
ably right in insisting on the clear enunciation of 
every syllable, when there are syllables to enunciate, 
he has not spoken the whole truth. He has failed 
to supply us with a practical theory that will include 
both the goldfinch and the organist, the two great 
wordless minstrels in the temples of Nature and 

Now, if our theologians had read their Bibles as 
carefully as our organists have read their music, 
they would most certainly have discovered that the 
Scriptures have some very fine things to say about 
the organist. Here, for instance, is quite a cluster 
of great Old Testament stories which should have 
helped us to solve our problem long ago. Look at 
this one : Jehoram, the wicked King of Israel, and 
Jehoshaphat, the good King of Judea, have for a 
while joined forces that they might fight side by 
side against the Moabites. But in the course of the 
campaign their united armies fall into sore straits, 
and Jehoshaphat longs to hear some guiding voice. 
In his perplexity he hungers for fellowship with 
the skies. His soul ached to speak with God. 'Is 
there not a prophet ?' he inquired. Elisha is found, 

The Organist 137 

and three kings stand before him, and beg him to 
prophesy. But the lips of the seers are sealed; he 
has no message ; he is dumb. Then he cried : 'Bring 
me a minstrel! And it came to pass, when the 
minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came 
upon Elisha, and he prophesied' ! Now, here is a 
clear-cut case in which the organist was simply in- 
dispensable to the minister. The prophet could not 
prophesy without the minstrel. The player was the 
preacher's inspiration a minister to the minister. 
The music of the minstrel directly contributed to a 
magnificent spiritual result. 'When the minstrel 
played, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha, and 
he prophesied.* 

Two other instances of a similar kind will leap 
to the memory of every reader: (i) When Saul 
heard the music of the psaltery and the tabret and 
the pipe and the harp, the Spirit of the Lord came 
upon him, and he prophesied, and was turned into 
another man; (2) When David took his harp and 
played before Saul 'the evil spirit departed from 
him/ The point is that in each case we recognize the 
organist. It is instrumental music, pure and simple. 
There is no question of words, whether clearly or in- 
distinctly enunciated. And in each case the language 
admits of no second interpretation; an emphatically 
spiritual effect was produced. We must be honest, 

138 The Luggage of Life 

even though we be theologians; we must be fair, 
even towards an organist. None of the facts must 
be blinked. 

Now, we venture to think that a working hypoth- 
esis can be built upon these facts. Two irresistible 
conclusions emerge. The first is that the organist 
is clearly part and parcel of our spiritual economy. 
Indeed, these three graceful old stories, if they 
mean anything, seem to show that we need our 
friend the organist in every department of our reli- 
gious enterprise. For, in the first two cases, it was 
through his agency that the Divine Spirit was re- 
ceived ; and in the third case it was by means of his 
melodious ministry that the evil spirit was expelled. 
These are the two great essential functions of the 
Church in every age to invoke a fresh inrush of 
spiritual enlightenment and reviving fervour, and 
to exorcise and expel all that is unrighteous, unholy, 
and unclean. And if, as these stories plainly show, 
the organist can help the Church to fulfil these two 
magnificent missions and to realize this sublime 
spiritual ideal, then let all pastors and deacons and 
teachers and singers stand up and say, God bless the 

But, lest our friend of the music-stool should 
become exalted above measure by the brilliance, as 
of the seventh heaven, of this Old Testament revela- 

The Organist 139 

tion, we hasten to emphasize the second principle 
that clearly emerges from its beatific splendours. 
It is manifest that the music of the minstrel is not 
an end in itself. Just as the work of the minister 
is not in itself spiritually effective, but is the channel 
through which the excellency of the divine power 
may communicate itself, so the harmonies of the 
organ are but a means of grace. The language is 
wonderfully exact and explicit: 'When the min- 
strel played, the hand of the Lord came upon 
Elisha/ and it was the hand of the Lord that 
wrought the resultant miracle. We hazard the sug- 
gestion that if our pastors and officers and mem- 
bers would spend half an hour in the careful con- 
templation of these exquisite old records, their eyes 
would be so illumined that they would detect an 
aureole encircling the brows of the organist. And 
if our minstrels would pore over these fragrant 
pages for a while they would feel the thrill of a 
new ecstasy in their avocation, and glorify their 
talents with a fresh consecration. An added sweet- 
ness and dignity would lurk in those lovely notes 
that come trilling and shuddering down from the 
organ. And the gracious ministries of our min- 
strelsy would anticipate that home of the eternal 
harmonies in the heart and centre of whose melodies 
the Lord himself delightedly abides. 


A MINISTERIAL friend of mine was recently travel- 
ling in the far east of Australia. On his return 
he penned a most picturesque account of the wilds 
and wonders of the Queensland bush. And, in the 
process of his cinematographic description of 
a glorious motor-ride, he includes this realistic and 
characteristic touch: 'In the heart of the bush/ he 
says, 'we came upon a tragedy that must often be 
enacted amongst the animal dwellers of the great 
solitude a kangaroo, a mother, unable to resist the 
pangs and pains thrust upon her by her destiny, lay 
dead upon the roadside, and above, on a branch of a 
tree, stood a pair of laughing-jackasses, guffawing 
their loudest, as if life knew no tragedy and no 

Here, then, is a painting, skilfully finished, before 
which we may profitably pause. And the charm 
of it as of all great pictures is that it is so true 
to life. The laughing- jackass and the dead kan- 
garoo ! I always keep up one of my sleeves a micro- 


The Jackass and the Kangaroo 141 

scopic a very microscopic naturalist, and an 
equally microscopic philosopher up the other. I un- 
rolled my friend's picture to my naturalist. 'Ah, 
yes/ he said, 'there you have the jackass all over; 
that's the way of the bird!' I turned to my other 
sleeve, and showed the picture to the philosopher. 
'Ah, yes,' he said, 'there you have life in miniature; 
that's the way of the world !' 

'The way of the bird' and 'the way of the world/ 
What do these gentlemen mean? Let us probe a 
little. Now, the jackass has a literature of his own. 
I suppose the most captivating and convincing 
description of our bush comedian that has ever been 
penned is the classical sketch by Frank Buckland. 
That most genial and most winsome of all British 
naturalists simply revelled in his study of the jack- 
ass. And he was particularly amused by the very 
trait that arrested my friend on his tour. He pil- 
lories him thus : 'The bird has a custom of laughing 
in a most exasperating fashion/ he says, 'when a 
misfortune happens to travellers. Thus, when a 
wagon loaded with goods breaks down in some deso- 
late region on a long march, and the owner is at his 
wits' end to get it right again, a laughing-jackass 
is sure to appear at the top of a neighbouring tree 
and laugh in the most aggravating manner at the 
miserable condition of the traveller, till the woods 

142 The Luggage of Life 

resound with his merry "Ha, ha, ha! He, he, he! 
Ho, ho, ho !" This is very interesting. We are 
grateful to Mr. Buckland and to my friend for 
drawing our attention to so curious a phenomenon. 
But this chapter is not to be understood as a fugitive 
excursion into natural history. I am attracted to 
the theme by quite other considerations. For it is 
surely as clear as noonday that the incident is true 
to life in the deepest sense. We are for ever and 
ever discovering, with a shock of surprise, that the 
laughing-jackass is never far away from the dead 
kangaroo. At every turn of our pilgrimage we see 
comedy stand grinning cheek by jowl with tragedy. 
The world is made up of the most discordant and 
incongruous juxtapositions. 

Among the treasures in the Sydney Art Gallery 
is Sir Luke Fildes' famous painting entitled 'The 
Widower.' On the right-hand side of the picture 
sits the poor toiler, with his sick child on his knee. 
One overwhelming bereavement has already over- 
taken him, and another stares him in the face. His 
brow is clouded with uttermost sorrow and per- 
plexity. He looks at his child and seems to say, 'If 
only she were here !' And on the left-hand side of 
the picture are the younger children playing on the 
floor, laughing and crowing in their merriment. 
They are not old enough to understand; but their 

The Jackass and the Kangaroo 143 

delight seems cruelly to mock his despair. Have 
we not here the story of the laughing- jackass and 
the dead kangaroo over again? The thing occurs 
hourly. As the mourners return broken-hearted 
from the graveside they are tortured by the mad 
melody of wedding-bells from a neighbouring 
belfry. Edward FitzGerald somewhere says that 
there are no lines in our literature so pathetically 
expressive of the soul's deepest emotions as the 
familiar song of Robert Burns : 

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon, 
How can ye bloom so fresh and fair? 

Ye little birds, how can ye sing, 
And I so weary, full of care? 

Who is there that, passing through some deep 
valley of weeping, has not been stabbed to the quick 
by the laughter on the hills? I shall never forget 
the day on which I left the Homeland. I was about 
to set sail for lands in which I should be the veriest 
stranger. I passed, on my way to the ship, through 
the crowded London streets, every one of which was 
endeared to me by old associations and enriched by 
fond memories. "I was accompanied by those who 
were all the world to me, those who, like myself, 
were calling up all the reserve powers of the will 
to nerve them for the wrench of parting. And I 

144 The Luggage of Life 

remember how I was mocked by the sounds of the 
city streets. My soul was in tears ; but who cared ? 
People were chattering ; crowds were jostling; news- 
boys were shouting ; all London was sunlit and gay. 
It seemed as though the old haunts were glad to 
see me go. The laughter tore and lacerated my 
spirit. The jackass seems a hideous incongruity in 
the presence of the dead kangaroo. 

The parable has an obvious application to public 
affairs. There are enough dead kangaroos lying 
about the world, in all conscience! Our tragedies 
are tremendous. At the moment of writing Italy 
and Turkey are at war. France and Germany are 
scowling angrily at each other across their frontiers. 
China is convulsed in the throes of a huge revolu- 
tion. Spain and Portugal are in a state of seething 
tumult and disorder. At our own doors the social 
conditions are full of disquiet and unrest. Strikes 
and lock-outs are the order of the day. We are not 
alarmists; we see in all this no cause for panic. 
The pessimist is completely out of court. But, on 
the other hand, we do submit that these things call 
for a certain public seriousness and gravity. The 
newspapers should cause every decent citizen furi- 
ously to think. Yet we see small evidence of seri- 
ous thought ; quite otherwise. The pursuit of pleas- 
ure and not always of the noblest pleasure was 

The Jackass and the Kangaroo 145 

never so deliriously feverish. The woods seem to 
resound with the untimely giggle of the laughing- 
jackass; and, with so many tragedies about us, the 
notes grate harshly on our ears. We venture a 
pertinent application. If things have become so 
serious that Australia needs to build battleships and 
compel all her sons to bear arms, then things have 
become far too serious for pugilistic orgies and 
similar carnivals of inanity. There is no doubt 
about it. The laughing- jackass is quite out of place 
beside the dead kangaroo. 

We pause reverently for a moment before daring 
to suggest a still deeper consideration in closing. 
Perhaps, perhaps this is why our Gospels present to 
us the sad and stricken face of a Man of Sorrows. 
The smitten soul, turning aside like a wounded deer 
from the herd, simply could not endure a gay or 
mirthful Saviour. I know a lady who dismissed her 
doctor because she could not bear the levities with 
which he thought to brighten her. Her nerves 
winced and squirmed beneath his jokes and chatter. 
It is a curious fact that there are more suicides in 
summer than in winter, and more in genial and 
sunny climes than in sterner temperatures. The rea- 
son is obvious. The brightness and gaiety of the 
world mock the bruised and battered spirit and drive 
it to despair. A tearless Saviour would have re- 

146 The Luggage of Life 

pelled the very souls that Jesus came to save ; but 
One over whose crushed spirit all the waves of grief 
have surged must be the natural refuge of all peni- 
tent and contrite hearts so long as time shall last. 
It is this harmony of the emotions, this subtle and 
unfathomable wealth of infinite sympathy, that has 
led millions to sing with choked and trembling 
voices : 

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 

Let me hide myself in Thee; 

Let the water and the blood, 

From Thy riven side which flowed, 

Be of sin the double cure, 

Save me from its guilt and power. 

There is a world of tender significance in the in- 
congruous tragedy which the motor-car passed by 
the side of the track. 


THE great bush solitudes had taken the place of the 
bustling streets. He an Australian minister on 
holiday rested on a fallen tree beside the dusty 
track. He raised his hat to the loveliness and bathed 
his brow in the loneliness that pervaded everything. 
It was with him as when a great steamer stops in 
mid-ocean to allow her engines to cool. The thud 
of the propeller, the vibration of the machinery, are 
felt no longer; the stillness is uncanny. He drew 
from his breast-pocket his Bible, and, his mind 
recurring to his own attempts to build the city of 
God among the haunts of men, he turned to the 
stately old story of Nehemiah. He read on, un- 
disturbed by the drowsy hum of insects and the 
merrier songs of birds, until arrested by Sanballat's 
question: 'What do these feeble Jews? Will they 
revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish 
which are burned ?' It was an awakening phrase 
a revival from a rubbish-heap! He laid the open 

148 The Luggage of Life 

Bible on the mossy log beside him and lost himself 
in contemplation. 

And, even as he pondered, a new object presented 
itself to his hungry mind. From the depths of the 
bush on the distant hill-side great wreathing 
columns of smoke curled skywards, occasionally 
shot through by fierce flashes of flame. Straining 
his ears to listen, he caught the crash of falling 
trees, and thought he could detect the crackle and 
roar of the fires as the monsters yielded themselves 
to the devouring element. Straining his eyes to see, 
he dimly discerned the figures of men moving here 
and there, superintending the work of demolition 
and destruction. They were clearing away the 
maple and the myrtle, the wattle and the gum, to 
make room for the apple and the apricot, the peach- 
tree and the pear. And the preacher, as he watched, 
caught himself echoing Sanballat's question: 'Will 
they bring a revival out of a rubbish-heap? Will 
they obtain riches from refuse?' These were com- 
panion pictures this picture in the Bible and this 
picture in the bush; and, as he gazed upon them 
side by side, several clear-cut thoughts emerged. 
He saw that rubbish-heaps fill a large place in the 
domestic economy of a world like this. And he 
saw that an element of such enormous magnitude 
must be governed by laws. Refuse must have its 

Our Rubbish-Heaps 149 

fixed rules. The slag-heap must have its statutes. 
They have ! 

There is the law of deterioration. From the 
picture in the Bible and the picture in the bush it 
becomes clear that all material things, though as 
sacred as the Temple or as natural as the forest 
flowers, are on their way to the rubbish-heap. It 
sounds like a death-knell to the materialist. Materi- 
alism, unmasked, appears as the religion of the 
rubbish-heap. It is heavy tidings, too, for the 
ritualist; for Ritualism stands in perilous relation- 
ship to the rubbish-heap. 'Now abideth' what? 
Altars? vestments? crosses? creeds? catechisms? 
confessions ? 'Now abideth faith, hope, love these 
three; and the greatest of these is love.' The moth 
is in our fairest fabrics, and our holiest temples 
totter to their fall. 'And as some spake of the 
Temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones 
and gifts, Jesus said : As for these things which ye 
behold, the days will come in the which there shall 
not be left one stone upon another that shall not 
be cast down.' That is significant. It is well to set 
our affections on the things for which the rubbish- 
heap can have no terrors. 

There is the law of occupation. For Nehemiah, 
in the one picture, and the settler in the other, find 
the ground not fallow, but occupied. Moss and 

150 The Luggage of Life 

lichen cover every stone. Giant trees, twining 
creepers, shapely ferns, and waving grasses fight for 
every inch of soil. Rank weeds and spear-like 
leaves peer out from all the interstices. Every 
crack and cranny, every corner and crevice, is oc- 
cupied. Nature abhors a vacuum. Wherever the 
foot of man has failed to tread, wherever the hand 
of man has failed to labour, God's innumerable 
and invisible agriculturists plough and harrow, sow 
and reap, and produce the bewildering beauties of 
the bush. Hannibal's military precept of preoccupa- 
tion dominates the rubbish-heap. The moss and the 
lichen are on the stones of Jerusalem because no 
Nehemiah has come to build the city. The wattle 
and the gum abound on the hill-side simply because 
no man has planted apricots or pears. Is it not ever 
so ? The mind becomes a wilderness of foul imagi- 
nations because clean and wholesome thoughts have 
not been planted there. The heart becomes, like 
Jerusalem, a wilderness and a desolation because the 
kingdom of Christ has never been established there. 
Evil evolves where good evacuates. 

There is the law of elevation. The question is: 
What makes rubbish rubbish? The term is obvi- 
ously not absolute, but relative. A lady's hat is a 
milliner's dream to-day. To-morrow a new style 
having come in it is its mistress's despair. What 

Our Rubbish-Heaps 151 

has so suddenly changed delight to disgust, and 
made the fashion of yesterday the folly of to-day? 
It is the new style. And it is always the new style, 
whether of dresses or of dreadnoughts, that flings 
the satisfaction of one day to the slag-heap of the 
next. What has made the maple and the laurel 
look like rubbish to the settler? The parrots and 
the kangaroos see no change to account for his 
vandalism. The aboriginals did not find it necessary 
to hack down trees and fire the undergrowth. Why, 
then, this fury of axe and torch and gunpowder? 
It is the conception of an orchard that has done it. 
That is the 'new style.' A man dreams of apples, 
and he burns the virgin bush. Then, in his orchard 
he sees the glint of gold ! The soil is auriferous ! 
The fruit-trees become firewood that he may seize 
the precious metal. Later on, in peril of a watery 
grave, he flings his very gold into the ocean that 
he may save his life. Bush, fruit, gold, each in their 
turn become rubbish, flung to the slag-heap by the 
alluring force of a higher attraction. Nor is life 
itself the last stage. The martyrs cheerfully threw 
even life away, fascinated by still greater wealth. 
Had not Paul his rubbish-heap? He counted all 
things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge 
of Christ Jesus his Lord, for whom he had suffered 
the loss of all things, and did count them but dung, 

1 52 The Luggage of Life 

that he might win Christ. The rubbish-heap can 
have no grander word written of it than that. 

There is the law of transformation. God makes 
His loveliest roses out of rubbish. The charred 
ashes of yesterday's bush nourish the roots of to- 
morrow's orchard. If the refuse of the ages had 
been allowed to accumulate, the world would be un- 
inhabitable. The air would be heavy with pesti- 
lence. We bury our rubbish, and it all comes back 
to us in fruits and flowers. Its resurrection body 
is divine. 

It is just here that the Church finds her most acute 
problem. In every community there are crowds of 
people who have gone to the wall. They feel 
crushed and beaten. Under our fierce competitive 
system the iron law of the survival of the fittest 
has flung them on the social slag-heap, and they 
know it. They hate the churches, because the 
churches are old, and they think that if the churches 
had done their duty, things would not be as they 
are. They forget that, if the churches had not done 
their duty, things would be ten thousand times 
worse than they are. They snatch at every social 
quackery and political panacea. Now, the Church's 
mission is to do for this ruined mass what Nehemiah 
did for the rubbish-heaps of Jerusalem to build 
out of them the city of God. 'Will they bring a 

Our Rubbish-Heaps 153 

revival out of a rubbish-heap?' asks Sanballat. Of 
course. A rubbish-heap is God's raw material. A 
revival is His finished product. Let the Church 
get to work. She alone is equipped for so divine 
a duty. If she fail, her collapse will be the disaster 
of the ages. In that melancholy event, this social 
rubbish-heap will become, like all untrans formed 
rubbish-heaps, the menace of mankind and the peril 
of the world. In it all pestilential fever-germs will 
breed and multiply. Anarchisms and revolutions 
will fill the air with shrieks and screams. But the 
Church of Jesus Christ knows how to transform 
this mass of refuse into a field of roses. Paul 
understood the magic secret. He looked upon the 
unbridled lust, the grinding tyranny, and the hide- 
ous idolatry of the city of the Caesars, and was un- 
abashed. And he gave his reason. The gospel, he 
said, is the power of God unto transformation. He 
saw that the foulest filth of Rome might become the 
fairest fragrance of the New Jerusalem. 



TM always a-moving on, sir,' cried poor Jo, wiping 
away his grimy tears with his arm. 'I've always 
been a-moving on and a-moving on ever since I was 
born. Where can I possibly move to, sir, more nor 
I do move?' 

'My instructions don't go to that/ said the con- 
stable. 'My instructions are that you are to move 
on. I've told you so five hundred times.' 

'Well, but really, constable, you know/ observed 
Mr. Snagsby (to whom poor Jo's appeal had been 
addressed), 'really that does seem a question. 
Where, you know?' 

So far Charles Dickens and Bleak House. Mr. 
Snagsby and poor Jo were indisputably right. It is 
the easiest thing in the world to keep moving on. 
*But where, you know ?' For it is the hardest thing 
in the world so to direct our movements that each 
change shall represent a real advance, and constitute 
itself a distinct contribution towards the attainment 
of an ultimate goal. By a sure instinct we ask each 


Life's Invisible Constabulary 155 

other on the street, not 'Are you getting on?' be- 
cause that matters little, but 'How are you getting 
on?' because that matters everything. 'Really/ as 
Mr. Snagsby said, 'that does seem a question 
where, you know ?' 

Now, movement is the law of life. The police- 
man told Jo that he must move or be locked up. 
But the greater constabulary of the solar system 
are very much more severe. They tell us that we 
must move or be put to death. 

Drummond's savage is a case in point. Says the 
amiable Professor: 'When we meet him first he is 
sitting, we shall suppose, in the sun. Let us also 
suppose and it requires no imagination to suppose 
it that he has no wish to do anything else than 
sit in the sun, and that he is perfectly contented and 
perfectly happy. Nature around him, visible and 
invisible, is as still as he is, as inert apparently, as 
unconcerned. Neither molests the other ; they have 
no connexion with each other. Yet it is not so. 
That savage is the victim of a conspiracy. Nature 
has designs upon him. She wants to move him. 
How does she set about moving him? By moving 
herself.' The sun goes down; he must move on or 
freeze. The time rolls on ; he must move or starve. 
The roar of the wild beast is heard; he must move 
or be eaten. He moves! 

156 The Luggage of Life 

It could easily be shown that these invisible 
constables have other and even surer methods of 
moving us on. They give us work to do, and wreck 
it for us so soon as we have done it, in order to 
make us do it all again. We build a house. Be- 
fore the workmen have removed the scaffolding mil- 
lions upon millions of invisible hands have set to 
work to reduce the building to ruins. It is only a 
question of time, and they will have left it, like 
Solomon's Temple, with not one stone upon another. 
They are terribly afraid those unseen constables 
that we shall loiter and stand still. They tear our 
work to pieces, and demolish the very homes in 
which we live, for the sheer sake of compelling us 
to renew our toils. They overthrow Nineveh and 
Tyre and Athens and Jerusalem and Rome that we 
may build London and Paris and Buenos Ayres and 
Chicago and Melbourne. And they are tearing 
down these that we may build the New Jerusalem. 
They are always moving us on. We plough a field. 
We must harrow and sow it at once, or they will 
trample it down with their microscopic feet until it 
needs reploughing. We gaze upon our golden crop. 
We must reap it immediately or they will drench 
and destroy it before our very eyes. We garner 
our harvest. We must plough the field again, or 
they will sow such a crop of thorns and of thistles 

Life's Invisible Constabulary 157 

as will make our backs ache even to look upon them. 
No street-corner constable was ever so imperative, 
so merciless, so tyrannical as are these. 'My in- 
structions/ said the policeman to poor Jo, 'are that 
you are to move on. I have told you so five hun- 
dred times.' That is nothing 1 . These other con- 
stables have told us so five million times. They say 
it from morning till night. They say it from baby- 
hood to old age. They said it when the first day 
dawned, and they will be saying it when the last 
sun sets. It is 'Move on!' for ever and ever and 
ever. And, to be doubly certain that we do move, 
they move us! Whether we like it or not, whether 
we sleep or wake, they hurl us through space at the 
dizzy rate of thousands of miles an hour to greet the 
sunrise ; and in another direction they push us along 
at the terrific speed of sixty thousand miles an hour 
towards the summer-time. We are whirling and 
spinning and rushing and flying from midnight till 
noonday and noonday till midnight. These fearful 
forces appal us with their everlasting cry of 'Move 
on !' Poor Jo's sad plight was a mere circumstance 
when compared with our own. And there is no 
Mr. Snagsby to intercede with our constables ! 

The science of life hinges upon turning mere 
movement into progress. Huxley once found him- 
self being driven in a hansom cab at a breakneck 

158 The Luggage of Life 

speed round and round a certain network of London 
streets. He had told the hackman to 'drive fast,' 
but had not instructed him as to his destination ! It 
does not by any means follow that movement, even 
the most rapid movement, is necessarily progress. 
In the Origin of Species Darwin has a good deal to 
say about 'certain larvae that actually stand higher 
in the scale of organization than the mature animal 
into which they are afterwards developed.' Have 
we not witnessed the same phenomenon ? There is, 
for example, all the difference imaginable between 
the Mayflower, as she crossed the Atlantic nearly 
three centuries ago, and the Mauretania, the pride 
of yesterday. The Mayflower was the 'larva,' the 
Mauretania the 'mature animal.' But the May- 
flower was a house of prayer, a temple of worship, 
and, on every Atlantic breeze that blew, songs of 
praise were wafted to the skies. Concerning the 
maiden voyage of the palatial Mauretania a London 
paper says that the trip was rendered hideous by the 
brutal ferocity of gamblers and the horrid de- 
bauchery of drunkards. 'The smoking-room be- 
came a veritable Bedlam.' Match-stands, spittoons, 
glasses, soda-water bottles, trays, and chairs were 
flying in all directions. On arrival at New York 
the vessel was met by detectives, who had been 
warned by Marconigrams from the ship (a device 

Life's Invisible Constabulary 159 

of which the Mayflower could not boast and for 
which she had no such use). These officials 
straightway conducted the passengers to the Jeffer- 
son police-court. From the Mayflower to the 
Mauretania is a big 'move on' ; but, in view of these 
records, one may be permitted to speculate as to how 
far the movement has represented a real advance. 
It sometimes happens, as Darwin says, that the 
larvae outstrip the mature animal. 

The principle is capable of somewhat incisive 
individual applications. Ignorance, in the immortal 
allegory, moved on just as far as did Christian and 
Hopeful; but at the gates of the Celestial City 
'the Shining Ones took him and carried him through 
the air to the door that I saw in the side of the hill 
and put him in there.' Movement kept pace with 
the movement of the pilgrims, but Progress made no 
advance at all. And perhaps the most appealing of 
all illustrations of this principle is Tom Hood's: 

I remember, I remember, 

The fir-trees dark and high; 
I used to think their slender tops 

Were close against the sky; 
It was a childish ignorance, 

But now 'tis little joy 
To know I'm farther off from heaven 

Than when I was a boy. 

The larvae, that is to say, were in advance of the 

160 The Luggage of Life 

mature animal which developed from them. The 
unseen constabulary of the universe can move us 
on; but it is not in their power to see that the move- 
ment shall be progress. They move us on as the 
wind moves the ships : it is for us to trim our sails 
to suit our destinies. For there are two great prin- 
ciples involved in getting on. There is the principle 
of the propeller, and there is the principle of the 
rudder. The propeller may make the pace, but only 
so far as it is checked and directed and controlled 
by the rudder can we be sure of 'getting there.' It 
is so fatally easy to move on. 

'But where ?' cries poor Jo. 

'Well, really, constable, you know/ says Mr. 
Snagsby wistfully, 'really, constable, that does seem 
a question. Where, you know?' 

Mr. Snagsby is quite right. It is a question in- 


THAT was little Emmie's trouble : So many beds in 
the ward! The lines are almost too familiar to 
need quoting: 

'Yes, and I will,' said Emmie, *but then, if I call to the 

How should He know that it's me? such a lot of beds in 
the ward !' 

That was a puzzle for Annie. Again she considered and 

'Emmie, you put out your arms, and you leave 'em outside 
on the bed 

The Lord has so much to see to ! but, Emmie, you tell it 
Him plain, 

It's the little girl with her arms lying out on the counter- 

Now here, with an art that is all the more wonder- 
ful because it is the art that conceals art, Tennyson 
has stated for us one of the most acute problems of 
the Christian faith. The Lord has so much to see 
to! Such a lot of beds in the ward! These are the 


162 The Luggage of Life 

ugly thoughts that have come knocking at all our 
doors at some time or other. Did I say, 'at some 
time or other' ? I mean at one especial time. These 
are the ugly thoughts that have entered all our 
heads just when the time came to pray. We were 
burdened. We hungered for a sense of the divine 
sympathy, the divine interest, the divine care. And, 
as we kneeled, little Emmie's question came dinning 
itself into our shuddering souls : 'The Lord has so 
much to see to! Such a lot of beds in the ward!' 
We rose disillusioned. When we kneeled, the place 
seemed like a shrine. When we rose, it was only a 
cupboard. When we kneeled, it seemed as though 
we were about to hold communion with the very 
skies. When we rose, the ceiling itself seemed to 
be grinning at our defeat. It was as though all the 
lamps of faith had been blown out. It was as 
though life's dearest companion had wilfully turned 
his back upon us. It was as though the doors of 
home had been suddenly slammed in our faces. 'The 
Lord has so much to see to ! Such a lot of beds in 
the ward!' 

These reflections have been suggested by a letter 
which has just reached me. It is from a gentleman 
who has gained, with marked distinction, two of the 
highest degrees obtainable on this side of the world. 
I mention this to show that the problem is not 

'So many Beds in the Ward!' 163 

confined to poor little waifs in London hospitals. 
Here, on the one hand, we have little Emmie; and 
here, on the other, we have our brilliant university 
graduate. But in both cases the trouble is the same. 
'I have given up praying!' my friend tells me. 'It 
seems so utterly incredible to me that a God who 
controls all worlds and inhabits all time can have 
patience to hear me speak to Him about my ex- 
aminations, and my love-affairs, and my prospects.' 
Here then, quite clearly, we are face to face with 
little Emmie's puzzle over again. 'The Lord has 
so much to see to ! Such a lot of beds in the ward !' 
Little Emmie stated the case from the standpoint 
of the child ; the letter states it from the standpoint 
of the scholar. That is all. 

Let me turn for a moment to current literature. 
Here on my desk is a London magazine containing 
an article by Miss Marie Corelli. It is not written 
in that lady's best vein. I am not sure that it is 
quite worthy of her. Her whole argument seems to 
be that the Lord has far too much to see to that 
there are too many beds in the wards to permit 
of His taking an individual interest either in a child 
in a London hospital or in a university graduate in 
Australia. She refers to the Most High as 'that 
tremendous Omnipotence to whose intelligent action 
we owe our very being the Generator of universes 

1 64 The Luggage of Life 

the Creator of everything the eyes can see, the 
ears can hear, or the brain can imagine.' And she 
scorns the very idea that 'we, the children of one out 
of a million million vast productive epochs, should 
be found assuming a certain "swaggering" posture 
before this ever-present Divine.' 

Here, then, we have the selfsame problem stated 
in three different ways : first, by a puny little patient 
in the children's hospital, then by a graduate of an 
Australian university, and once again by a modern 
novelist. And each one of us, if we cared and dared, 
could state it afresh in the throbbing terms of some 
profound personal experience. A book published 
some time ago told the story of 'old Mr. Westfield, 
a preacher of the Independent persuasion in a cer- 
tain Yorkshire town, who was discoursing one Sun- 
day with his utmost eloquence on the power of 
prayer. He suddenly stopped, passed his hands 
slowly over his head a favourite gesture and 
said, in dazed tones : "I do not know, my friends, 
whether you ever tried praying; for my part, I 
gave it up long ago as a bad job." The poor old 
gentleman never preached again. They spoke of 
the strange seizure that he had in the pulpit, and 
very cheerfully and kindly contributed to the pen- 
sion which the authorities of the chapel allowed 
him. I knew him five-and-twenty years ago, a 

'So many Beds in the Ward 1 . 165 

gentle old man addicted to botany, who talked of 
anything but spiritual experiences. I have often 
wondered with what sudden flash of insight he 
looked into his own soul that day, and saw himself 
bowing down silent before an empty shrine.' 

It is a great mystery, a very great mystery. And 
yet and yet when you come to think of it, it is 
all wonderfully and exquisitely simple. 'The Lord 
has so much to see to !' It all turns on that. 'The 
Lord has so much to see to !' But what if He has? 
Is it not an almost universal experience that the 
people who have most to see to are the very people 
who see to each separate thing most thoroughly? 
If a piece of work wants doing, we ask the busy 
man to do it. He will consent without making a 
fuss, and he will do the work well. 'So many beds 
in the ward !' And what if there are? The mothers 
who have most mouths to feed are the best mothers, 
after all ! We recall the recitation that was so popu- 
lar some years ago. It told of a father and mother 
struggling to support a large family. A handsome 
offer came from a childless home. Would they, who 
had so many, part with one? Father and mother 
lit a candle and went from room to room among 
their slumbering bairns; but they found each as 
dear as though each were their only child. 'So 
many beds!' said little Emmie. 'So many beds!' 

166 The Luggage of Life 

said the tempter with his bags of gold. But when 
the many beds were visited the parents shook their 
heads over each. Not one could be spared. Indeed, 
the experience of this old world of ours shows con- 
clusively that those children turn out best who come 
of large families. Darwin makes a great point of 
that. So that it is false to fact that a child gets more 
care if his is the only cot in the house. All experi- 
ence goes to prove that a child is enriched, and not 
impoverished, when the parents have 'so much to 
see to' 'so many beds in the' home! It is fair, 
therefore, to say that there is not even a prima fade 
case to be made out for the fear which assailed the 
faith of our little sick waif, our Master of Arts, 
and our distinguished authoress. There is abso- 
lutely nothing in it. Reasoning, as alone we may, 
from things terrestrial to things celestial, it is clear 
that the great Father, who has so many children 
to see to, will take the very best care of each individ- 
ual child, and will bring up His immense family 
with the greatest credit to Himself. 

But even if, in spite of all this, the argument be 
allowed the honour of serious analysis, it is so easy 
to expose its fallacy! It will be noticed that the 
real difficulty, in each case, lies in the greatness of 
God. It seemed incredible to little Emmie, to our 
Master of Arts, and to Miss Corelli that a God who 

'So many Beds in the Ward!' 167 

is 'the Generator of universes and the Creator of 
everything' can be concerned with the cares of the 
individual. Now the trouble is, not that they have 
made God to seem too great, but that they have not 
made Him great enough. They have belittled Him ! 
Now, how great is God ? That is the real question ! 
Is He great to the point of absolute infinity? Is 
He, or is He not? Now, if God is great to the 
point of infinity, it follows, beyond all controversy, 
that there is no stick or stone in all His universes 
of which He is not perpetually cognizant and con- 
scious. Or to put it the other way if there is a 
feather or a straw blowing about the solar system 
which has, for a fraction of a second, eluded His 
knowledge or escaped His observation, then, by just 
so much, His greatness falls short of infinity. If, 
therefore, I do really believe that God is not only 
great enough to be 'the Generator of universes and 
Creator of everything,' but great enough to be in- 
finite, then I cannot help believing that no sparrow 
falls to the ground without His notice and that the 
very hairs of my head are all numbered. This has 
never been better stated than by Faber^: 

O Majesty unspeakable and dread! 

Wert Thou less mighty than Thou art, 
Thou wert, O God, too great for our belief, 

Too little for our heart. 

i68 The Luggage of Life 

But greatness which is infinite makes room 

For all things in its lap to lie; 
We should be crushed by a magnificence 

Short of infinity. 

But what is infinite must be a home, 

A shelter for the meanest life, 
Where it is free to make its greatest growth 

Far from the touch of strife. 

Yes ; there are many whose hearts have ached in 
sympathy with those of little Emmie, and our 
Master of Arts, and our eminent novelist. They 
have known the anguish of the empty shrine. Let 
them turn their faces in the direction I have tried to 
indicate. And if they will follow that road they will 
find that it leads home, and they will rest sweetly 
when they get there ! 



WHO that has lived in England has not stored, 
among his chiefest treasures, his memories of the 
old English country lane its serpentine folds, its 
gentle undulations, its over-arching oaks, its de- 
licious and fragrant hedgerows, its twitter of birds, 
its hum of insects, and its glimpses of golden butter- 
cups in the spreading fields beyond ? All these will 
haunt him till his last sun sets. 

We have heard a great deal since then of the rule 
of the road; but the lane has a law of its own; and 
the law of the lane is an infinitely loftier and an 
infinitely lovelier thing than the rule of the road. 
And that is saying much, for Mr. G. K. Chesterton, 
our greatest literary acrobat (notwithstanding his 
insatiable fondness for standing on his head), says 
that the indescribable charm of Dickens may be best 
summed up in one satisfying phrase used by one of 
his own characters. * "My friend," said Mr. 
Perker*s clerk to Job Trotter, "you've got the key of 


172 The Luggage of Life 

the street" And, says Mr. Chesterton, 'Dickens 
himself had, in the most sacred and serious sense of 
the term, the key of the street.' 

Few of us understand the street. Even when we 
step into it we step into it doubtfully, as into a 
house or room of strangers. Few of us see through 
the shining riddle of the street, the strange folk that 
belong to the street only the street-walker or the 
street-arab, the nomads, who, generation after 
generation, have kept their ancient secrets in the full 
blaze of the sun. Of the street at night many of us 
know even less. The street at night is a great house 
locked up. But Dickens had, if ever man had, the 
key of the street. His earth was the stones of the 
street; his stars were the lamps of the street; his 
hero was the man of the street. He could open the 
inmost door of his house the door that leads into 
that secret passage which is lined with houses and 
roofed with stars. 

Yes, the street is a wonderful place a place of 
mystery and dread. But the lane is more wonder- 
ful still; for the street conceals, whilst the lane 
reveals. The street is a place of secrecy; the lane 
is a palace of song. Even if a man is born who, 
like Charles Dickens, possesses the key of the street, 
he can at best but tell us what man is. But he 
who reads the riddle of the lane knows what God is. 

The Law of the Lane 173 

In the lane 'earth is cramm'd with heaven, and 
every common bush afire with God/ 

Little flower, but if I could understand 
What you are, root and all, and all in all, 
I should know what God and man is. 

Charles Kingsley used to say that, whenever he 
strolled down an English lane, he felt as though 
everything about him, every leaf, and bud, and 
flower, were saying something to him, and he was 
pained and oppressed by the feeling of his own 

Yes, compared with the lane, the street is a sordid 
place. It has its charms, but its charms are for 
sale. It barters its beauties for gold. It was from 
the street that Bunyan caught his conception of 
Vanity Fair. The lane displays its shining wares 
no less attractively, but offers them without money 
and without price. Who has ever found quite the 
same satisfaction in an afternoon's shopping as we 
found in the old lane long ago? The wild flowers 
that the lane offered us in the spring-time, when 
the long winter was past and gone; the tangle of 
hawthorn and dog-rose and convolvulus that we 
found there in the summer; the nuts and black- 
berries of autumn, and the redder berries with which 
we decked the home in winter, the lane was never 

174 The Luggage of Life 

without its treasures. And they were always freely 
ours. There was no stint in the lane. Is it not 
Lowell who tells us that 

Bubbles we buy with a whole soul's tasking ; 
'Tis heaven alone that is given away, 
'Tis only God may be had for the asking? 

And then, too, the lane was a winding place. 
When we were young we puzzled over its crazy 
progress, and stupidly wished that it were straight. 
Since then we have had to do with the realities of 
life; and we have learned, by tiresome experience 
of their monotony, that the last word in art is a 
graceful curve. We have driven, it may be, along 
the great prairie roads of the Western world roads 
that, looking back, seemed to come in an unbending 
line from the Atlantic, and that, looking forward, 
seemed to run in one unbending line to the foot- 
hills of the Rocky Mountains. Or we have made 
our weary progress along the great undeviating 
tracks that intersect the vast Australian plains, and 
that seem to run without a swerve from world's-end 
to world's-end. We have journeyed along the street 
which is called Straight, and our hearts have longed 
the while for the tortuous but romantic folds of the 
dear old lane at home. And for our tardy prefer- 
ence there is a reason, psychological, and deeply 

The Law of the Lane 175 

based. The road across the prairies, the track across 
the plains, the street which is called Straight, are 
untrue to life and experience. They are artificial, 
unnatural, forced. Life is a lane; it abounds in 
surprises; it twists and doubles, and curves and 
folds. We cannot know what is just beyond. We 
quickly lose sight of our yesterdays. We are kindly 
compelled to take our to-morrows on trust. As 
Klingle says : 

God broke our years to hours and days, 

That, hour by hour, and day by day, 

Just going on a little way, 
We might be able all along to keep quite strong, 
Should all the weight of life 

Be laid across our shoulders, and the future rife 
With woe and struggle, meet us face to face 
At just one place, 

We could not go; 

Our feet would stop, and so 
God lays a little on us every day. 

That is the law of the lane. 

And the last song that the birds are singing in 
the old lane is perhaps the blithest of them all. It 
tells us that life does not lose its romance as the 
years wear away. It was not until we had left the 
lane for twenty years that we discovered its beauty. 
We find far more pleasure in the winding path now 
than we did when we perspired on sultry summer 

176 The Luggage of Life 

afternoons beneath the weight of our baskets of nuts 
or buckets of blackberries. We were choked with 
dust and tired to death, and were too close to catch 
the lane's loveliness in its right perspective. All of 
which is hugely significant. 

We set out on this ramble in the excellent com- 
pany of Mr. Chesterton. Let us return to him. 
'Mrs. Nickleby,' he says, 'stands for a great truth 
which we must not forget : the truth that experience 
is not in real life a saddening thing at all. The peo- 
ple who have had misfortunes are generally the peo- 
ple who love to talk about them. Experience is 
really one of the gaieties of old age, one of its dis- 
sipations. Mere memory becomes a kind of de- 
bauch. Experience may be disheartening to those 
who are foolish enough to try to co-ordinate it and 
to draw deductions from it ; but to those happy souls, 
like Mrs. Nickleby, to whom relevancy is nothing, 
the whole of their past life is like an inexhaustible 
fairyland. Just as we take a rambling walk because 
we know that a district is beautiful, so they indulge 
a rambling mind because they know that a whole 
existence is interesting. A boy does not plunge into 
his future more romantically and at random than 
they plunge into their past.' Even the folds and 
stretches that our tired feet have left behind them 
become transfigured with exquisite beauty as we 

The Law of the Lane 177 

press courageously on and thread the labyrinth of 
life's long lane. The Present has a lovely way of 
wreathing an aureole about the brows of the Past. 
And even though the Present seems nothing but a 
dreary commonplace, the Future will do as much 
for her in God's good time. He maketh everything 
to be beautiful in its time; but it may not be the 
present time. To-morrow we shall see the glory of 
to-day. 'You always said my lane would turn,' 
wrote the 'Lady of the Decoration,' 'and it has 
turned into a broad road bordered by cherry-blos- 
soms and wistaria.' It is always so. The birds in 
the hedges on either hand are singing that we really 
lose nothing that is behind by pressing bravely to- 
wards what lies before. All the loveliness of the 
lane is ours, even though we have nearly reached the 

Grow old along with me ! 

The best is yet to be, 
The last of life, for which the first was made. 

Our times are in His hand, 

Who saith, A whole I planned. 
Youth shows but half; trust God; see all, nor be afraid. 



IMMENSITY is magnificent medicine. That is one 
reason if we may let the cat out of the bag 
why the doctors send us to the seaside. We forget 
the tiddley-winking in the contemplation of the tre- 
mendous. We lose life's shallow worries in the 
vision of unplumbed depths. Those who have read 
Mrs. Barclay's Rosary will remember that, in the 
crisis of her life, the heroine, the Hon. Jane Cham- 
pion, determined to consult her physician, Sir 
Deryck Brand. And, after having realized the 
fearful strain to which his poor patient's nerves 
had been subjected, he exclaimed : 'Here is a pre- 
scription for you! See a few big things!' He 
urged her to go out west, and see the stupendous 
Falls of Niagara, to go out east and see the Great 
Pyramid. 'Go for the big things/ he said ; 'you will 
like to remember, when you are bothering about 
pouring water in and out of tea-cups, "Niagara is 
flowing still !" ' 

All of which is, of course, very excellent. It is 

A Tonic of Big Things 179 

the word we need. The tendency of life is to drift 
among small things small anxieties, small pleas- 
ures, small ideas, and small talk. He is a very wise 
physician indeed who can prescribe for us a tonic of 
big things. In the course of that long struggle in 
his own life which reflects itself in Christian's 
lengthy pilgrimage to the Cross, John Bunyan 
enters in his autobiography two records that are 
worthy of frequent observation. I quote, of course, 
from Grace Abounding : ' While I was thus afflicted 
with the fears of my own damnation,' he says, 
'there were two things would make me wonder. 
One was, when I saw old people hunting after the 
things of this life, as if they should live here always ; 
the other was, when I found professors much dis- 
tressed and cast down when they met with outward 
losses. Lord, thought I, what ado is here about such 
little things as these !' 

That is the point: 'Such little things as these!' 
We are like the pebbles on the beach. It is not easy 
to keep among the big ones at the top the big ones 
that feel the laughing caress of every wave and the 
lovely radiance of every sunbeam. The tendency 
is to get shaken down among the small shingle 
underneath. But we are forgetting the other record 
from the inner life of Bunyan: 'Upon a day the 
good providence of God called me to Bedford, to 

i So The Luggage of Life 

work at my calling, and in one of the streets of that 
town I came where there were three or four poor 
women sitting at a door, in the sun, talking about the 
things of God. I heard, but understood not, for 
they were far above, out of my reach. Their talk 
was about a new birth, the work of God in their 
hearts ; they talked how God had visited their souls 
with His love in the Lord Jesus, and with what 
words and promises they had been refreshed, com- 
forted, and supported.' 

These two keynotes, the one taken from the first 
quotation, and the other from the second, are worth 
repeating. 'Such little things as these!' 'The 
things of God far above out of my reach/ The 
soul of the poor tinker was tired of the microscopic 
and hungry for the majestic. He craved 'a tonic of 
big things,' and the talk of the four poor women 
sitting in the sun was like a banquet to his famished 

The thing has its parallel everywhere. To take 
one of the most familiar of all our religious classics, 
it occurs in John Wesley's Journal. We all remem- 
ber how pitifully weary the great Methodist apostle 
became of the crowd of small men who buzzed about 
him with a multitude of small concerns. And we 
have all felt the glow of his delight when he found 
some kindred spirit with whom he could freely con- 

A Tonic of Big Things 181 

verse on the great themes of the Christian gospel. 
There are times when we get so tired of the plain; 
we love to get among the mountains. The soul 
makes its own pilgrimage among great, rugged, 
snow-clad ranges, along whose tracks and passes she 
never loses her way. She loves the peaks that pierce 
the sky; she enjoys 'the tonic of big things.' 

In Lord Morley's magnum opus he reproduces 
one of Mr. Gladstone's letters, in which the great 
statesman tells of a visit to Dr. Chalmers. And by 
nothing was Mr. Gladstone more impressed than by 
the utter incapacity of Chalmers to indulge in small 
talk. He simply lived among mountains. Every- 
thing about Chalmers was massive, monumental, 
magnificent. Who that has read it can ever forget 
his historic utterance before the General Assembly 
of the Church of Scotland, when he explained his 
change of views on the subject of ministerial prepa- 
ration? He explained, first of all, the change that 
had come over his own spiritual life. 'I was wrong, 
sir !' he cried, 'strangely blinded that I was ! What, 
sir, is the object of mathematical science? MAGNI- 
TUDE, and the proportion of magnitude. But then, 
sir, I had forgotten two magnitudes I thought not 
of the littleness of time, I recklessly thought not of 
the greatness of eternity!' That word 'magnitude' 
was characteristic of the man. And it profoundly 

1 82 The Luggage of Life 

impressed Mr. Gladstone as being characteristic of 
his conversation. When only tiny themes presented 
themselves, the doctor was as silent as the Sphinx. 
'He had nothing to say,' says Mr. Gladstone; 'he 
was exactly like the Duke of Wellington, who said 
of himself that he had no small talk. His whole 
mind was always full of some great subject, and he 
could not deviate from it.' 'Chalmers never wasted 
time on small topics/ Dr. Donald Fraser tells us in 
his biography, 'if he could find a man fit to enter 
on great matters.' 

In the classical and memorable passage towards 
the end of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Em- 
pire, Gibbon describes the triumph of the most 
majestic masterpieces of Roman architecture. 
Huns, Goths, and Vandals had done their worst. 
The city had been sacked again and again ; the hand 
of the iconoclast had been pitiless. Everything de- 
structible had been ruthlessly destroyed; yet some 
things remained. They remained because they were 
not destructible; and those things were the big 
things. The fretwork and the fancy work, the deli- 
cate carvings and dainty ornamentations had fallen 
before the brutality of the Vandals ; but the tower- 
ing columns and colossal arches defied alike the teeth 
of time and the malice of the barbarian. The big 
things stand. 'Now abideth. . . .' It is ever so. 

A Tonic of Big Things 183 

Every preacher knows that it is the great themes 
that hold the field; and they hold the field simply 
because the people, tired to death of trifles, need 
'a tonic of big things/ The preacher of small 
subjects is doomed. The Canadian Presbyterian 
commented recently on the farewell services of a 
minister who was closing a two years' ministry. 
A venerable member of his congregation, in bidding 
his pastor a tearful 'good-bye,' remarked: 'Well, 
sir, I am sorry to see you go. I never had but 
one objection to you: your preaching was always 
too horizontal^? That is the worst of small things, 
however prettily presented. A multitude of grains 
of sand, however beautiful each separate grain may 
be in itself, only makes a desert after all ; and there 
is no blinking the fact that deserts are not popular 
institutions. People don't like living in deserts ; 
they like altitudes, magnitudes, infinitudes; they 
revel in the ruggedness of the ranges. 'I almost 
envy some of these good people who can stand 
in the middle of one of their prayers and touch 
all four sides.' It is the 'Lady of the Decoration* 
who is speaking; and she goes on: 'They know 
what they want, and are satisfied when they get it; 
but I want the moon and the stars and the sun 
thrown in!' Yes; our poor 'Jmmanity needs 'a 
tonic of big things.' 

1 84 The Luggage of Life 

The preacher must take note. The pulpit is the 
place for magnificent verities. It is the home of 
immensities, infinities, eternities. 'We must preach 
more upon the great texts of the Scriptures/ says 
Dr. Jowett, 'we must preach on those tremendous 
passages whose vastnesses almost terrify us as we 
approach them/ 

Professor Henry Drummond was once sailing 
along the west coast of Africa. His deck com- 
panions were four men, no one of whom could 
understand the other; they spake in divers tongues. 
But at last one produced a Bible. The second 
hurried to his cabin and appeared with his; then 
the third, and then the fourth. By a stroke of 
genius, the first opened his at the third chapter 
of John's Gospel, and the great sixteenth verse. 
The others opened theirs, and pointed with their 
fingers to the place; and the glow on their faces 
was an eloquent language in itself. Men can see 
the mountain-peak over a multitude of intervening 
obstacles. And no obstacle of race or language, 
rank or station, can preclude men from the fellow- 
ship of life's immensities. 'They shall cry unto the 
Lord, and He shall send them a Saviour, and a great 
one! Everything in the gospel is 'a tonic of big 



IT was the church anniversary. On the Sunday 
there were special sermons, solemn praise, and 
stately anthems. Everything was inspiring, im- 
pressive, sublime. On the Monday there were 
sandwiches, cream puffs, and jam-tarts. The steam- 
ing urns imparted a genial glow to the spirits of the 
guests, for waves of laughter rippled and broke 
through the hum of friendly chatter. I had taken 
part in the solemn services of the Sunday, and had 
been asked to speak at the tea-meeting on the 
Monday. I drew aside to collect my thoughts. 
But my thoughts politely, but firmly, declined to 
be collected. They insisted on propounding to me 
this arresting conundrum tell us, they clamoured, 
the philosophical connexion between the sermons of 
yesterday and the sandwiches of to-day. What 
relation exists between singing and scones? What 
fellowship hath religion with revelry? Why follow 
the sacred worship of the Lord's Day with a carnival 
of confectionery? 

I took my Bible from my pocket, and had not 

1 86 The Luggage of Life 

to search far before I came upon a clue. On one 
of the very earliest pages of the sacred records I 
lit upon a significant statement. It occurs at a 
crisis in Hebrew history. It was a time of wealthy 
revelation and divine illumination. Here it is: 
'They saw God, and did eat and drink.' There 
you have revelation and revelry side by side. There 
you have the secret of all worship and the germ of 
all tea-meetings. 'They saw God' that is the prin- 
ciple of the sermon; 'and did eat and drink' that 
is the principle of the sandwich. What more could 
I desire? Yet I read on, and, to my amazement, I 
found these two great principles running side by 
side, like a pair of white horses perfectly matched, 
through the entire volume. The sandwich was 
never far from the sermon. 

In the Old Testament all the stirring seasons 
of spiritual elevation and national enlightenment 
were Feasts the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of 
Tabernacles, the Feast of Passover, the Feast of 
Trumpets, the Feast of Dedication, and so on. 
Revelation blends with revelry. The chapter that 
tells of Israel's redemption from Egypt by the 
shedding of blood a classic of revelation tells 
also, in precise and graphic detail, of the eating of 
the lamb. The passage that tells how Elijah saw the 
angel tells also how the angel said, 'Arise and eat !' 

Sermons and Sandwiches 187 

'And, behold, a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse 
of water.' 

The sandwich principle keeps pace with the 
sermon principle. Revelry goes hand in hand with 
revelation. The tea-meeting is never far from the 
special services. But the most revealing element in 
the ancient economy was its law of sacrifice. The 
old dispensation crystallized itself in the altar. And 
here we all sit at the feet of Professor Robertson 
Smith. He made this theme peculiarly his own. 
And he fearlessly affirms that we cannot understand 
that solemn and striking symbol of patriarchal faith 
unless we grasp the fact that the altar was first of 
all a table. 'This,' he says, 'is the key to the whole 
subject of sacrifice, and the basis of all Semitic 
covenants. When the two parties have eaten of 
the same victim, and thus become participants in 
a common life, a living bond of union is established 
between them, and they are no longer enemies, but 
brothers/ Here, then, are the two laws the law 
of the sermon and the law of the sandwich, the 
principle of revelation and the principle of revelry 
in closest juxtaposition at the very climax of the 
old world's illumination. 

Crossing the border-line into the New Testament, 
the same singular conjunction is everywhere. 'This 
beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, 

1 88 The Luggage of Life 

and manifested forth His glory.' The revelation 
was a revelry. It was at a marriage feast. Later 
miracles followed the same line the feeding of four 
thousand, the feeding of five thousand, and so on. 
Loaves and fishes the representation of the sand- 
wich were never far from the most revealing 
sermons of the Son of Man. And even when, after 
His resurrection, He deigns to show Himself to His 
astounded fishermen, He feeds them. 'And they 
saw a fire of coals, and fish laid thereon, and bread.' 
Revelation and revelry are together still. And just 
as the Old Testament reaches its natural climax in 
the Altar of Sacrifice, so the New Testament reaches 
its culminating revelation in the Table of the Lord. 
There 'we see God, and do eat and drink.' The 
two principles join hand in hand. And even when 
the Great Revealer spoke of heaven, these two 
thoughts were always in His mind. Heaven is a 
place of revelation and of revelry. There the pure 
in heart see God; and there we sit down at the 
Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Men often do 
things, as the swallows do, under the guidance of 
some sure instinct, yet without detecting, or even 
desiring, any explanation of their odd behaviour. 
It is thus that the Church has wedded her revelries 
to her revelations. She has rightly set the sand- 
wich over against the sermon. The union is 

Sermons and Sandwiches 189 

indissoluble. The solemn service and the social 
meal are inseparable. These two hath God joined 

Now in these two elements I find my bond of 
brotherhood with the holiest and the lowliest. 
Among the angels and archangels and all the 
company of the heavenly host I know not what 
seraphic spirits may burn. But I know that there 
is no altitude higher than this to which they can 
attain they see God! But so do I. Then they 
and I are brothers. In the splendid revelations of 
Christian worship we stand allied to the holiest in 
the height. And in eating and drinking, on the 
other hand, we are kinned to the lowliest. I watch 
the birds as they fly. It seems to me that they 
live in one element, and I in another; we have 
nothing in common. I watch the rabbit as he 
shyly peeps from his burrow. How far. removed 
his life from mine! I watch the trout as they 
flash and dart in the shades and shallows of the 
stream. There is no point of fellowship between 
them and me. But wait! The rabbit sits upon 
his haunches nibbling at a blade of grass, on which 
a dewdrop glistens. He eats and drinks! So do 
I. The bird flutters down from the bough to seize 
a morsel on the lawn. He eats and drinks! So 
do I. The fish come darting up the stream to 

The Luggage of Life 

devour the gnats that, in trying to escape the 
birds, have fallen upon the glassy surface. They 
eat and drink! So do I. If the sermon allies 
me to angels and to seraphs, the sandwich allies 
me to all things furry and feathered and finny. 
.When we were prattlers our nurses used to amuse 
us with fantastic pictures of lions and storks and 
ants and dolphins and men all sitting down, cheek 
by jowl, at the same table. 

Later on we despised the old print as a furious 
freak of some farcical fancy. But now we know 
that it was nothing of the kind. It was a severely 
accurate delineation of the real and sober truth. 
Indeed, it was less than the truth, for no superhuman 
guests were there. The universe is a banqueting- 
table. That sage old friar Francis d'Assisi was 
within the mark, after all, when he addressed the 
creatures as Brother Hare, Sister Lark, Brother 
Wolf, and so on. The sermon element brings me 
into intimate and fraternal relationship with all the 
flaming hosts above. The sandwich element brings 
me into league with the tigers, and the tomtits, 
and the trout. The special services of anniversary 
Sunday, and the tea-meeting of the Monday, set 
forth in harmonious combination the breadth and 
catholicity of man's holiest and lowliest brother- 

Sermons and Sandwiches 191 

But the instinct of the tea-meeting tells me yet 
one other thing. I see now that I have misinter- 
preted the majesty of God. 'It is the pathetic fate 
of Deity/ says Pascal, 'to be everlastingly misunder- 
stood.' I had always supposed that the glory of 
God was embarrassing, bewildering, dazzling! I 
had thought of it as repelling, terrifying, paralysing! 
But now I see that it is nothing of the kind. 'They 
saw God, and did eat and drink.' Even a cat 
will not eat in a strange house, nor a bird in a 
strange cage. Eating and drinking are symbols of 
familiarity. We feel at home. We bring our friends 
to our tables that they may realize their welcome. 
My ugly thought of God was a caricature, a parody, 
an insult. Man was made for God, and only finds 
his perfect poise in His presence. To see God 
is to eat and drink to be perfectly, peacefully, 
reverently, rest fully, delightfully at home. 

' "I have served God, and feared Him with all 
my heart," says poor Rufus Webb in Miss Ellen 
Thorneycroft Fowler's Fuel of Fire. 

' "That may be, but you have never loved nor 
trusted Him !" replied the minister. 

'The dying man lay silent for a few minutes, with 
closed eyes. Then he opened them again, and said : 
"I wonder if you are right, and I have misjudged 
Him all these years ?" 

i pa The Luggage of Life 

' "I am sure of it." 

' "And do you think He will pardon me that also, 
in addition to my many other sins ?" 

' "I am sure of it," repeated the vicar, "although 
it is hard, even for Him, to be misjudged by those 
whom He loves; there are few things harder." 

It is even so. I heard the solemn pathos of this 
philosophy jingled out in the clatter of the cups 
and the spoons at the tea-meeting. 'A glorious high 
throne is the place of our sanctuary.' It is not re- 
pelling; it is restful. He who sees God eats and 
drinks. The sandwiches naturally follow the ser- 
mons. 'If any man hear My voice I will come in to 
him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.' 


ONE of the world's most intrepid mountaineers, Mr. 
George D. Abraham, has published a record of his 
adventures. His experiences have quite a startling 
significance for life at all points. Much that he says 
is as bracing as those stinging breezes that hurled 
the hail in his face as he invaded the snowy solitudes 
and carved the first path over slippery glaciers. He 
reminds us, for example, that nobody has yet stood 
on the roof of the world. The real sky-piercers 
have never yet been climbed. On almost every con- 
tinent the loftiest summits wrap their clouds about 
them and stand defiant and triumphant. They have 
never felt the proud heel of a conqueror. 

It is good, both for our humiliation and for our 
inspiration, that we should lay that pregnant record 
to heart. In days when bewildering inventions and 
sensational discoveries leap from our newspapers 
with every plate of porridge, it is as well that we 
should be made to feel that, after all, we have only 
been toying with trivialities. Our grandchildren will 


i94 The Luggage of Life 

ransack some old chest or drawer, and drag from 
its seclusion an old illustrated paper of, let us say, 
the year 1912. They will scream with furious glee 
as they scan the photographs of the aeroplanes and 
automobiles which so hugely tickled our own vanity ; 
and then, as they read the accompanying letter- 
press, and feel the pulsations of our pride, they will 
awaken all the echoes with their boisterous shouts 
of laughter. 

It is very humiliating; and yet, after all, surely 
it is powerfully invigorating too. Who does not 
feel that life holds a new meaning for him as he 
reflects that there are dizzy heights which have 
stood in naked and awful silence from the founda- 
tion of the world? Their desolate grandeur is 
waiting for the pilgrim feet of a pioneer. Who 
does not experience a thrill as he remembers that 
it is possible for us to break all the records of the 
ages and burst upon the vacancies that ache for 
conquest ? 

Mr. Abraham contends that the first man to 
ascend Mount Everest will be a greater benefactor 
of his race than a successful polar explorer. It 
may be humiliating to be reminded that we have 
not discovered everything. But it would be simply 
crushing if we were assured that nothing remained 
to be discovered. The tang of these icy winds that 

The Challenge of the Heights 195 

sweep down these untrodden slopes taunts the im- 
agination and challenges the enthusiasms of the 
world. All the greatest heights have yet to be 
climbed. It is grand ! All the sweetest songs have 
yet to be sung; all the noblest poems have yet to 
be penned; all the greatest books have yet to be 
written; all the finest sermons have yet to be 
preached; all the truest lives have yet to be lived; 
all the most heroic exploits have yet to be achieved. 
The whole wide world, with its restless millions, 
waits to be conquered. India, China, Africa, South 
America, spacious continents, crowded countries, 
cannibal islands and coral reefs, all wait as the 
peaks wait for the pathfinder for the beautiful 
feet of those triumphant mountaineers whose coming 
will precipitate the conquest of the ages. The chal- 
lenge of the heights is in our ears ; it stirs our blood ; 
it fires our fancy. It is a day for girding our 
loins for heroic enterprise. The pinnacles beckon 
and the topmost crags are calling. We must quit the 
pine-clad valleys ; we must go. The Golden Age has 
still to be ushered in. 

Then, again, Mr. Abraham conclusively demon- 
strates that, on the dizzy Alpine tracks, no man 
liveth to himself. He insists on the social element 
in mountaineering. The heights must be scaled, 
not by individuals, but by parties, and every member 

196 The Luggage of Life 

of the party is part and parcel of every other 
member. No brotherhood could be more real, more 
practical, more imperative. Sometimes the members 
of the expedition are roped together; but in any 
case the tie is there. In negotiating a difficult pass, 
in clambering up a perilous face, or in attempting 
a forbidding ascent, it is the weakest member of the 
expedition whom all other members must consider. 
His failure would be the failure of all. The golden 
rule is nowhere so clamant as among the crags of 
the summit. Every task that presents itself has 
to be faced with a full recognition of its suitability 
to the capabilities of each member of the fraternity. 
The slipping of the feeblest foot might easily 
jeopardize the lives of all. That is for ever and 
for ever the lesson of the heights. It is only in 
life's rarer and more intense atmospheres that we 
see it so clearly. The murky mists of the valley 
often obscure the fact that we are, in deed and in 
truth, members one of another. 

In his great chapter on 'The Evolution of Lan- 
guage,' Drummond shows that a law like this 
operates in the animal world. 'One of the earliest 
devices hit upon,' he says, 'was the principle of 
co-operation. The deer formed themselves into 
herds, the monkeys into troops, the birds into flocks, 
the wolves into packs, the bees into hives, and the 

The Challenge of the Heights 197 

ants into colonies/ And the brilliant doctor goes 
on to show how it works out: 'Here/ he says, 'is 
a herd of deer, scattered, as they love to be, in a 
string a quarter of a mile long. Every animal in 
the herd not only shares the physical strength of 
all the rest, but their powers of observation.' 

The very beasts of the field are members one of 
another, and know it. But the finest and most 
graceful illustration of this social law the strength 
of the strongest passing as a heritage to the feeblest 
occurs in The Pilgrim's Progress. ' "Alas !" cried 
poor Mr. Feeble-mind, "I want a suitable compan- 
ion; you are all so lusty and strong; but I, as you 
see, am weak. I choose, therefore, rather to come 
behind, lest by reason of my many infirmities I 
should be both a burthen to myself and to you. I 
am, as I said, a man of a weak and a feeble mind, 
and shall be offended and made weak at that which 
others can bear. I shall like no laughing; I shall 
like no gay attire; I shall like no unprofitable 
questions. Nay, I am so weak a man as to be 
offended with that which others have a liberty to 
do. I do not yet know all the truth ; I am a very 
ignorant Christian man; sometimes, if I hear some 
rejoice in the Lord, it troubles me because I cannot 
do so too. It is with me as it is with a weak man 
among the strong, or as with a sick man among 

198 The Luggage of Life 

the healthy, or as a lamp despised, so that I know 
not what to do." "But, brother," said Mr. Great- 
heart, "I have it in commission to comfort the 
feeble-minded, and to support the weak. You must 
needs go along with us ; we will wait for you, and 
we will lend you our help; we will deny ourselves 
of some things, both opinionated and practical, for 
your sake; we will not enter into doubtful disputa- 
tions before you; we will be made all things to 
you, rather than that you shall be left behind." 

The Pathfinder, the Professor, and the Puritan 
all agree, therefore, in making it abundantly clear 
that no man liveth to himself, and no man dieth 
to himself. 'Wherefore/ says the most sure-footed 
of all our mountaineers, 'take heed to them that 
are weak. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to 
drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother 
stumbleth.' The echo that we have heard comes 
to us from the Alps and the Himalayas; but the 
voice that awoke that echo is from a greater height. 
It spake from Mount Sinai, from Mount Sion, from 
the eternal altitudes. It is the voice of God. 

A third striking thing our mountaineer has to say. 
He emphasizes the astonishing fact that the vast 
majority of Alpine fatalities occur on the easy 
tracks. The steep and narrow passes, where the 
brain reels, where the foothold is precarious, and 

The Challenge of the Heights 199 

where the poise of the body is difficult, clamour 
loudly for special care. But the easy tracks have 
a peril of their own. 'Claudius Clear/ in a sug- 
gestive article, demonstrated the fact that, although 
we commonly regard youth as the essential period 
of moral peril, the most disastrous collapses have 
been on the part of men and women in middle 
life. We acquire a certain fatal contempt for 
temptation which is ultimately our undoing. We 
have edged our way with trembling caution along 
the most slender shelves, beside perpendicular cliffs, 
and above yawning abysses ; and then we fling our- 
selves with a reckless stride along the broader 
tracks. We scorn the danger. Are we not noted 
climbers ministers, officers, teachers, saints of ripe 
or mellow maturity ? Thinking that we stand fast, 
we take no heed lest we fall. We become the 
victims of the easy track at the last. It is cruelly 
anomalous, but it is tragically true, that many a 
man's conscience is less sensitive as to the minor 
moralities of life after twenty years of Christian 
service than during the first months of his religious 
experience. He slips now where he stood fast 
then. He has become too confident to be cautious, 
and has grown tired of being careful. That way 
lies disaster. 

We feel very much obliged to Mr. Abraham. 

200 The Luggage of Life 

We never expect, in this life, to follow him on his 
vigorous pilgrimages towards virgin peaks. We 
can only gaze at his snowy summits admiringly 
and wistfully. But his adventures read like al- 
legories; his suggestions sound like sermons. The 
analogies, however unintentional, are too arresting 
to be shunned; the parallelisms, however uncon- 
scious, too striking to be avoided. We have fol- 
lowed this trusty guide by granite and glacier, midst 
snow and ice, and have caught a vision of more 
radiant purity, gleaming on loftier pinnacles, and 
bathed in the golden glory of a lovelier sunrise. 
And those beckoning heights have challenged us to 
press with new vigour towards the triumphs for 
which all the ages have been struggling, to reach 
out hands of dearer brotherhood to the comrades 
who share our pilgrimage, and to exercise a greater 
vigilance as we tread life's treacherous easy tracks. 
It is so easy to fail of life's loftiest altitudes; so easy 
to forget the partner of one's toil and travel; so 
wofully easy to be overtaken by desolating calamity 
through a false step on the easy track, after all. 
After all! 



I AM writing in April. The month moves on its 
way amidst a wealthy cluster of associations. It 
opens with a festival of folly. The Englishman 
invariably connects its coming with welcome 
thoughts of the cuckoo and the crocus. In our 
Australian minds it stands related to the rustle of 
autumn leaves. It is the month of homeward yearn- 
ing, too, for all exiles. There be many that say, as 
Browning said: 

Oh to be in England 

Now that April's there ! 

And whoever wakes in England 

Sees, some morning, unaware, 

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf 

Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, 

While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough 

In England now. 

April brings, too, more often than not, the tender 
pathos of Good Friday, and the exquisite triumph 
of Easter. But there is one home to which these 
chastened joys make no appeal, for to the door of 
the Australian Methodist parsonage April brings 
only the furniture-van. We have been engaged in 


202 The Luggage of Life 

saying sorrowful farewells to ministerial neigh- 
bours with whom we have worked side by side 
through pleasant years of comradeship. And now, 
without any indication that their work is finished, 
like plants torn up when in full bloom, they must 
move on. 

It is this that has set us thinking. Indeed, it has 
set Methodism . thinking. The whole question of 
ministerial movement is beset by problems that have 
made wiser heads than ours to ache. It is true, on 
the one hand, that the itinerary system is being 
eyed, not without envy, by the statesmen of other 
churches. Here, for example, in the latest issue of 
The Church Family Newspaper, is a leading article 
suggesting the adoption by the Church of England 
of a modified Methodism. Presbyterian assemblies 
have long been discussing it, and Baptists and Con- 
gregationalists have sometimes cast shy but wistful 
glances in the same direction. And yet and yet, on 
the other hand, two things are clear. The first is 
that Methodism itself is coming to regard the system 
as open to review. I have known large city churches 
apply for registration as central missions in order 
that they may stand outside the pale of the 
itinerary system. And I have known small country 
churches plead that they might retain their status 
as home missions rather than be dragged into the 

The Furniture-Van 203 

sweep of the system. The second fact is that every 
minister who has stayed in one place long enough 
to marry the girls and boys that he kissed when he 
came, knows that his most regal influence came to 
him in the years that followed the fifth. It is then 
that the best work is done. The minister has won 
a personal, in addition to a merely official authority. 
His name is graven in the very hearts of his people, 
and he speaks in their homes with the voice of a 

But let me hasten to say that I am writing to 
challenge no system, and to advocate no system. 
All these things are in the melting-pot; and the 
churches will be wise if they watch each other 
closely, confer with each other frankly, and profit 
by each other's sagacity and experience. Yet one 
thing I do most unhesitatingly affirm, and it is for 
that irresistible affirmation that I am contending 
now. It is this : a ministerial removal should never be 
mechanical. It is a crisis of the soul perhaps of 
many souls. It is a thing to be undertaken only 
after strong crying and tears. I like to recall the 
searchings of heart that marked a ministerial resig- 
nation a century or so ago. Everybody knows the 
circumstances tinder which poor old John Fawcett 
wrote 'Blest be the tie that binds.' And, at about 
the same time, Andrew Fuller spent two years in 

204 The Luggage of Life 

most terrible anguish of soul whilst he tried to de- 
termine whether or not it was his duty to leave his 
little flock at Soham. 'It seems as if the church 
and I should break each other's hearts/ he wrote. 
'I think, after all, if I go from them, it must be 
in my coffin.' His agony of mind led Dr. Ryland 
to remark that 'men who fear not God would risk 
an empire with fewer searchings of heart than it 
cost Andrew Fuller to leave a little church, hardly 
containing forty members besides himself and his 

And, indeed, there is no need to limit the scope 
of this chapter to manses and parsonages. The same 
principle holds good of every removal. The ten- 
dency of young nations is to regard the furniture- 
van flippantly. A century ago, the removal of an 
English family from one village to another was 
regarded as a social tragedy through all the country- 
side. A man worked for his master because his 
father had worked for his master's father, and his 
grandfather for his master's grandfather. And it 
never occurred to him that some social cataclysm 
might prevent his grandchildren from serving his 
master's grandchildren. All that has changed. 
That day is as dead as the moa and the dodo. The 
temper of the time has altered. We hail a furniture- 
van nowadays with almost as light a heart as we hail 

The Furniture-Van 205 

a hansom cab. In his Gamekeeper at Home Richard 
Jefferies, the naturalist, maintains that this very fact 
has had a good deal to do with the sharp accentua- 
tion of our industrial troubles. The old intimate 
and almost sacred relationship between employer 
and employe, fortified by associations sanctified by 
several generations, has broken down; and its col- 
lapse has paved the way for all our modern embroil- 
ments and agitations. 

Yes, there is no doubt about it, we overwork the 
furniture-van. Its axles are too hot. Old Daniel 
Quorm comes to mind. 'I do often see it, friends !' 
said Dan'l, 'I've watched it for years. Here's a 
young fellow doin' good in the Sunday school and 
other ways, promising to be a useful man when we 
old folks are gone home. But somebody sends down 
word that he can make half a crown a week more 
wages in London. That's enough. No prayer about 
it ; no askin' the Lord what He do see. No thinkin' 
about the Lord's work. "I must get on," he says, 
and he says it so pious as if it was one o* the ten 
commandments but 'tisn't, friends, 'tisn't, 'though 
you do hear it so often !' 

Over against Daniel Quorm let us set Dr. Alex- 
ander Whyte. In his lecture on 'Treasure Hid in 
the Field' the doctor touches on this very matter, 
and tells of a lovely experience. 'An old office- 

206 The Luggage of Life 

bearer of this very congregation,' he says, 'told me, 
long ago, how he had lately summoned a conference 
of his whole household in order to make a great 
family choice and decision. He put it to his wife, 
and to his sons, and to his daughters, whether he 
would build a house for them away out of Edin- 
burgh, with a park and a garden and stables, or 
whether he would buy a house in the city so as 
still to be near this church, and so as to let his family 
continue to sit under Dr. Candlish's ministry. And 
the eyes of that old elder glistened with joy when he 
told me that he had determined on a house within 
reach of the pulpit to which he owed his own soul 
and the souls of his children. His wife had been in 
Dr. Candlish's ladies' class. Things like that do not 
happen every day.' 

Dr. Whyte is right. They do not. We are too 
fond of the furniture-van. We ought to regard it in 
the same category as the world and the flesh and the 
devil. The number of transfers granted to members 
leaving one church for another would make our 
grandsires turn in their graves, whilst the multitude 
of those who are entered as having 'moved away,' 
one church's loss being no other church's gain, is 
appalling. They have moved away, that is all. The 
furniture-van has done its deadly work. Father, 
mother, lads and lasses have moved away from 

The Furniture-Van 207 

church and Sunday school, from societies and 
classes, from useful services and helpful charities 
and happy ministries ; they have moved away to 
what? Church secretaries might often mournfully 
and truthfully enter in the 'Remarks' column of the 
church-roll the 'Lay of the Lost Leader' : 

Just for a handful of silver he left us, 
Just for a riband to stick in his coat! 

Nobody, of course, is so dreamy and unpractical 
as to suggest that church connexions should never 
be ruptured in order to secure commercial promotion 
or industrial preferment. That is not the point. 
The iniquity is with those who order the furniture- 
van before such considerations have been duly 
weighed. If a man sees the beckoning hand, he 
must go on ; and, so long as he is clear that his move 
is a move nearer to the realization of life's ultimate 
purpose, the furniture-van may be as idyllic a vehicle 
for him as a chariot and horses of fire. 

But there is a 'moving away' that is worse still. 
Paul assures the Christians at Colossae that their 
Lord shall present them holy and unblamable and 
unreprovable if they be not moved away from, the 
hope of the gospel. That is sorrow's crown of 
sorrow life's culminating climax of tragedy to 
be moved away from the hope of the gospel. Wher- 

2o8 The Luggage of Life 

ever the furniture-van may take our chairs and 
tables, our hearts must always abide in the same 
place. In an age of shifting and of drifting we must 
make it the loftiest science of life to dwell in the 
secret place of the Most High and to abide under 
the shadow of the Almighty. In the immutable 
Rock of Ages the soul must wisely build her nest. 
'Be not moved away' ! Surely, if church secretaries 
are sometimes tempted to inscribe the 'Lay of the 
Lost Leader* against certain names on the mem- 
bership roll, it is pardonable to fancy the very 
angels, from their higher knowledge, writing sadly 
against other names, 'Moved away moved away 
from the hope of the gospel/ It is the Dirge of a 
Lost Soul! 

Mr. Young, of Jedburgh, used to tell a story of 
old Janet, who, in her lonely hut on the Scottish 
moor, was dying at last. She breathed heavily and 
painfully. Her brown old Bible lay open on the 
counterpane. The minister came just in time. 'And 
hoo is't wi' ye the noo, Janet ?' he inquired, bending 
over her wrinkled countenance. Her face was 
radiant. 'It's a' weel, it's bonnie/ she cried; 'but, 
mon, I'm a wee confused wi' the flittin' !' Happy 
are all they who, in that last solemn removal, know 
no more poignant anguish than the mere flutter and 
flurry of the process ! 



MARK TWAIN more than once makes merry at the 
lugubrious and fantastic conception of a man 
mourning at his own funeral. In these passages 
the genial humorist is not at his best. He misses 
the true inwardness of things. There is nothing in 
actual experience more common and nothing more 
pathetic than for a man to occupy the position of 
chief mourner at his own burial. We have often 
read the touching records of missionaries on the 
islands, who are compelled to act as grave-diggers 
and chaplains at the funerals of their own wives and 
children. And quite recently we heard of a stricken 
and lonely woman, in an ocean solitude, who was 
called to nerve herself to perform the same melan- 
choly offices at the burial of her husband. But life 
holds an even deeper pathos. It is the tragic experi- 
ence of every man who rightly reads the riddle of 
life to preside, perhaps more than once, at his own 
obsequies. He looks tearfully down upon the plate 


2io The Luggage of Life 

upon which his own name and age are inscribed, and 
says, deliberately and bravely, 'Ashes to ashes, dust 
to dust.' Lord Dufferin has told us that he owes 
his very life to a vivid dream in the course of 
which he seemed to be a mourner at his own funeral. 
Many a man owes far more than life itself not to 
a mere dream, but to the actual experience. 

The process occurs, for instance, in the choice of 
a profession. Here and there a man feels that he 
must follow a certain line, and that no other is even 
thinkable. But with most men the trail is not so 
clearly blazed. A man decides to be a builder, but 
he feels that he would have made a very respectable 
banker. Or he resolves on being a minister, but 
he feels at the same time that he could easily have 
distinguished himself as a barrister. In such cases, 
if he be wise, the builder will straightway bury 
the banker that is in him, and the minister will 
pronounce the solemn words of committal over the 
grave of the barrister. The builder who is per- 
petually hankering after a teller's desk will never 
build anything better than huts or hovels even for 
himself. And the minister who is for ever casting 
envious eyes at a barrister's chambers will never 
catch the rapture that Christ's true ministers may 

That is a great story which Professor Herkless 

On Conducting One's own Funeral 211 

tells us in his Life of Francis d'Assisi. On the 
one hand Francis longed to be a friar and to 
dedicate himself to poverty and pilgrimage. On 
the other hand he loved a sweet and noble and 
gracious woman. He wrestled with his alternatives, 
and at length, through an agony of tears, he chose 
the cloak and the cowl. But still the lovely face 
haunted him by cloister and by shrine. And one 
radiant moonlit night, when the earth was wrapped 
in snow, the brethren of the monastery saw him 
rise at dead of night. He went out into the grounds, 
and, in the silvery moonlight, fashioned, out of the 
snow, images of wife and children and servants. 
He arranged them in a circle, and sat with them, 
and, giving rein to his fancy, tasted for one delicious 
hour the ecstasies of hearth and home, the joys 
of life and love. Then, solemnly rising, he kissed 
them all a tearful and a final farewell, renounced 
such raptures for ever, and re-entered the convent. 
That night Francis the friar buried himself. He 
read his own funeral service. He had made his 
choice; and, in order that his life might not be 
clogged by the haunting images of dead possibilities, 
the man who had decided to be a friar buried 
everything except the friar. Indeed, the Roman 
Church draws the most impressive symbolism of 
its dedication from this source. Lamartine tells us 

212 The Luggage of Life 

of Madame Roland's visit to a French convent. 
'A novice took the veil during her residence there. 
Her presentation at the entrance, her white veil, 
her crown of roses, the sweet and soothing hymns 
which directed her from earth to heaven, the mortu- 
ary cloth cast over her youthful and buried beauty 
and over her palpitating heart, made Madame 
Roland shudder and overwhelmed her with tears.' 

But there is no need to go beyond the pale 
of Protestantism for our illustrations. The case 
of F. W. Robertson of Brighton is very much to 
the point. The love of arms ran in his very blood. 
His grandfather, his father, and his brothers were 
all soldiers. He himself had counted the slow years 
that must drag by before he could wear the Queen's 
uniform. But at last the time came, and he found 
himself, to his intense delight, appointed to the 
Third Dragoon Guards, and almost simultaneously 
there came the call to the ministry. Then the 
struggle in the dark, and, finally, the great decision. 
Robertson stripped off the brilliant uniform, laid 
aside his sword, entered the ministry, and from 
that time forth never looked back. The first 
service he conducted, he conducted all alone. It 
was the burial of the soldier in him. And, before 
burying him, he stripped from the soldier all his 
military virtues endurance, discipline, courage 

and transferred them to the equipment of the min- 

If our years were allotted to us in the generous 
fashion which some of the patriarchs seem to have 
enjoyed, a man might find some opportunity for 
trying his hand at more avocations than one. As 
it is, however, the time is short. At seventy a man 
only begins to feel that he knows his work. There is 
no time for tinkering with many things or for 
trifling with one. The very brevity of life clamours 
for concentration and economy. We have all read 
the affecting and informing and heart-searching 
correspondence of Dr. Marcus Dods. No man 
sounded the very depths of life's innermost experi- 
ences more terribly than did he. He felt called to 
be a minister. He buried every other inclination 
and possibility. Then came years of neglect and 
rejection. No congregation would call him. But, 
with a courage never excelled on a battle-field, he 
held on. He looked wistfully at the graves in which 
he had buried his earlier fancies. But he would 
allow no resurrection. And at last came recognition 
and reward. And out of that agonizing experience 
he wrote on the economy of life, and he deserves to 
be listened to with bated breath. 'Every man,' the 
doctor says, 'as he grows into life, finds he must 
employ such an economy on his own account. He 

The Luggage of Life 

is pressed to occupy positions or to engage in work 
which will prevent him from achieving the purpose 
for which nature has fitted him. He is offered pro- 
motion which seems attractive and has its advan- 
tages ; but he declines it, because it would divert him 
from his chosen aim. Continually men spoil their 
life by want of concentration. They are greatly 
tempted to do so, for the public foolishly concludes 
that, because a man does one thing well, he can do 
everything well; and he who has written a good 
history is straightway asked to sit in Parliament, or 
the man whose scholarship and piety have been con- 
spicuous is offered preferment which calls for the 
exercise of wholly different qualities.' 

The theme might, of course, be amplified infinitely. 
It is the central thought of the gospel. There are 
times when men sigh, with the speaker in Tenny- 
son's Maud : 

Ah, for a man to arise in me, 
That the man I am may cease to be ! 

And Jesus meets such men on their own ground. 
He offers a new life. 'Ye must be born again' ! He 
says. And the birth within me of the man He 
means me to be necessarily implies the burial within 
me of the man I have actually been. The vocabu- 
lary of the death-bed and the grave-side was con- 
stantly on the lips of Paul. Again and again he told 

On Conducting One's own Funeral 215 

the Christians of Europe and of Asia the story of 
his own death and burial. Almost all his auto- 
biographical references are obituary notices. He 
had been crucified with Christ, he would say, and 
he implored his hearers to reckon themselves as 
dead and buried too. 

Yes, it is good for the builder to bury the banker 
that he might have been. It is good for Paul to bury 
the Saul that he had been. But there is one man 
within us, whom we are most strongly tempted to 
bury, to whose funeral we must never, never go. He 
is the man of our ideal ; the man of our prayers ; 
the man we fain would be. There are no sadder 
lines in English poetry than those of William Wat- 

So on our souls the visions rise 
Of that fair life we never led: 

They flash a splendour past our eyes, 
We start, and they are fled; 

They pass and leave us with blank gaze, 

Resigned to our ignoble days. 

We catch the fair vision of glorious possibilities ; 
but we shake our heads, like the rich young ruler, 
and turn away sorrowful. Oh the pity of it! 
'Resigned to our ignoble days' ! The old world is 
very weary with weeping over her troubles and 
her tragedies; but she has never known anything 
more inexpressibly mournful than that. 


MARRIAGE is simply an obvious and outstanding 
illustration of one of life's cardinal laws. The 
world is made up of pairs, and, like the sexes, those 
pairs are supplementary and complementary. I 
have two eyes. They are not in rivalry; each has 
its function. It is difficult for my right eye to dis- 
cern the danger that approaches from the opposite 
direction. My left eye, therefore, stands sentinel 
on that side of my face. Each member of my body 
holds in charge powers that it is under obligation to 
exercise for the good of all its fellow members. 
The world is built on that plan. Examine, for proof 
of it, the list of exports and imports of any nation 
under the sun. As Cowper sings : 

Wise to promote whatever end He means, 
God opens fruitful Nature's various scenes ; ; 
Each climate needs what other climes produce, 
And offers something to the general use ; 
No land but listens to the common call, 
And in return receives supplies from all. 

Our Better Halves 217 

In our silly habit of teaching half-truths, we tell 
our children that Australia belongs to Britain, that 
Algeria belongs to France, and that Java belongs to 
Holland. If we told them the whole truth they 
would learn that Britain belongs to Germany, and 
that France belongs to China, and that America be- 
longs to Japan, and that every nation is an essential 
and complementary part of every other nation. 
And if we taught them the whole truth after that 
liberal fashion, they would grow up to beat their 
swords into ploughshares and their spears into 

In precisely the same way every man holds in 
sacred charge certain gifts and graces which he is 
under solemn obligation to use for the general good. 
My next-door neighbour is my better half; I cannot 
do without him. 

He is rich where I am poor, 

And he supplies my wants the more 

As his unlikeness fitteth me. 

The best possible illustration is, of course, Com- 
mander Verney L. Cameron's story of the two 
lepers he met in Central Africa. One had lost his 
hands, the other his feet. They established a farm 
together. The leper who had no hands, and who 
could not therefore scatter seed, carried his legless 
brother, who could not else have stirred, upon his 

2 1 8 The Luggage of Life 

back; and thus, each supplying the other's lack, 
they broke their ground, and sowed their seed, and 
reaped their crop. 

Or go to Scotland. Everybody who has read that 
wealthiest of all northern biographies will remem- 
ber the storm scene on the Highland loch. Dr. 
Norman Macleod was in a small boat with a boat- 
man, some ladies, and 'a. well-known ministerial 
brother, who was as conspicuous for his weak and 
puny appearance as Dr. Macleod was for his 
gigantic size and strength/ A fearful gale arose. 
The waves tossed the boat sky-high in their furious 
sport. The smaller of the two ministers was 
frightened out of his wits. He suggested that Dr. 
Macleod should pray for deliverance. The ladies 
eagerly seconded the devout proposal. But the 
breathless old boatman would have none of it. He 
instantly vetoed the scheme. 'Na, na !' he cried ; 'let 
the wee mannie pray, but the big one maun tak' an 
oar if ye dinna a' want to be drooned !' The shrewd 
old Highlander was simply stating, in a crude way 
of his own, life's great supplementary law. Let us 
admire this principle of the big minister and the 
small minister, of the armless leper and the legless 
leper, each in his proper place, as it reveals itself in 
other fields. Every great movement furnishes evi- 
dence of the effective operation of this law. 

Our Better Halves 

Those who have studied carefully the story of the 
Reformation know how the powers of Luther and 
Melanchthon dovetailed into each other, and how 
beautifully each supplemented each. Differing from 
each other as widely as the poles, each seemed to 
supply precisely what the other lacked ; and neither 
was quite sure of the wisdom of his own proposal 
until the sanction of the other had been obtained. 

Macaulay has told us, concerning Charles Fox 
and Sir James Macintosh, that when Fox went to 
the desk and wrote, and Macintosh took to the plat- 
form and spoke, the cause they espoused seemed 
pitifully impotent; but when Macintosh seized the 
pen, and Fox mounted the platform, they were 
simply irresistible. They brought the whole coun- 
try to their feet. Which, of course, is the story of 
the big minister and the wee minister over again. 
The gifts of each exactly supplemented those of the 
other. Each was the other's better half. And has 
not Lord Morley made us familiar with the fine 
record of Cobden and of Bright? 'They were,' he 
says, 'the complements of each other. Their gifts 
differed, so that one exactly covered the ground 
which the other was predisposed to leave compara- 
tively untouched.' 

The story of the grey friars and the black friars 
is another case in point The followers of Francis 

220 The Luggage of Life 

exactly supplemented those of Dominic, and each 
order overtook the work which the other left un- 
done. History teems with similar examples. The 
law of the better half is as wide in the sweep of its 
operations as the law of gravitation. 

What ecclesiastical jealousies and theological 
bitternesses and ministerial heart-burnings would 
have been saved if even the best and saintliest of 
men had been swift to recognize the operation of 
this gracious principle! To say nothing of such 
shameful controversies as those between Calvinists 
and Lutherans, let us take as our example, a wordy 
conflict of but two centuries ago. We ministers 
read John Wesley's Journal and William Law's 
Serious Call on Saturday nights; and contact with 
such flaming enthusiasms makes our own hearts to 
burn within us as the great day of the week ap- 
proaches. What piety, what passion, what prayer- 
fulness we discover! All the chills of the week melt 
from our spirits as our souls warm themselves be- 
fore these blazing fires ! But we blush for our own 
revered spiritual masters when we recall the way in 
which these giants of the devout life treated each 
other. And, now that all the dust has settled, what 
is the truth? The simple fact is that Wesley was 
the very greatest preacher of his age, and Law was 
the very greatest religious writer. 

Our Better Halves 221 

'We see, now/ says a great writer, 'that William 
Law without John Wesley, as well as John Wesley 
without William Law, would have left the religious 
life and literature of the eighteenth century both 
weak, one-sided, and unsafe. Could they both have 
seen it, both were, indispensable John Wesley to 
complete William Law, and William Law to com- 
plete John Wesley/ Just so. Could they both have 
seen it ! But the tragedy of it all is that they could 
not see it, and did not see it. We shall be wise men 
if, in sitting at their feet, we profit by the very 
blindness of our teachers. Each, had he only known 
it, was the other's better half. 

There come to most of us weak or wicked mo- 
ments, when we are apt to regard our more brilliant 
brethren as our enemies. We forget that we are 
members one of another, and that we need each 
other. What a story for tears is that which Dr. 
Alexander Whyte has told us of Thomas Shepard ! 
It is a tale to be read on our knees. Thomas Shep- 
ard, as we all know, was an English Puritan, a 
Pilgrim Father, and the Founder of Harvard. But 
we did not all know that Thomas Shepard was a 
poor wretch of like passions with ourselves. He 
had, it seems, a brilliant ministerial neighbour. And 
his neighbour's sermons were printed on Saturdays 
in the New England Gazette. So, for that matter, 

222 The Luggage of Life 

were Shepard's. But his neighbour's sermons read 
well, and were popular. Shepard's read but in- 
differently, and were despised. And on one memor- 
able Saturday a particularly brilliant and clever 
sermon appeared in the Gazette. Everybody read 
it, everybody talked of it, everybody praised it. And 
the praise of his neighbour was like fire in the bones 
and like gravel in the teeth of poor Thomas Shep- 
ard. It was gall and wormwood to his very soul. 
That Saturday the spirit of the old Puritan passed 
through the Garden of Gethsemane. When mid- 
night came it found him still prostrate before God 
on the floor of his study. His whole frame was 
convulsed in an agony of sweat and tears, whilst his 
brilliant neighbour's clever sermon was still crushed 
and crumpled between his clasped hands. He 
wrestled, like Jacob, until the breaking of the day. 
He prayed until he had torn all bitterness and 
jealousy and hatred and ill-will out of his heart. 
And then, with calm and upturned face, he craved 
a blessing on his neighbour and on his neighbour's 
clever sermon. Thomas Shepard came to see that 
he and his neighbour belonged to each other. He 
was his neighbour's better half. Time has taken 
good care to vindicate Shepard. He is the friend 
of all of us, whilst we do not even know his neigh- 
bour's name. What Saturday nights, I say again, 

Our Better Halves 223 

we ministers have with Wesley and with Law! 
How our hearts burn within us in their excellent 
company! But what still more glorious Saturday 
nights we might have had if only John Wesley or 
William Law or, better still, both of them had 
spent one Saturday night after the pattern of 
Thomas Shepard's never-to-be-forgotten Saturday 
night in New England! If only they, and all like 
them, had wrestled with their bitterness until the 
breaking of the day! The daybreak would have 
revealed to each the noble face of a brother beloved. 
For we are members one of another. 


I HAVE just been over the Fram. Captain Amund- 
sen, with his lieutenants, Messrs. Hassel and Wist- 
ing both of whom accompanied their chief to the 
Pole were as courteous and attentive as mortals 
could possibly be. They showed us all that there was 
to be seen, told us all that there was to be told, and 
assisted us in snapping everything that tempted our 
cameras. Nothing could have been more beautiful 
than the grace and modesty with which they were 
receiving, in the form of a perfect stream of con- 
gratulatory cablegrams, the plaudits of the world. 
It was good to walk the decks of the sturdy little 
vessel that holds the extraordinary record of having 
penetrated to the farthest north with Nansen and to 
the farthest south with Amundsen. We raise our 
hats to the heroic achievements of these hardy 
Norsemen. What memories rush to mind! What 
tales of dauntless courage and dogged endurance ! 
Our thoughts quit all their ordinary grooves and 

The Conquest of the Poles 225 

plunge into fresh realms. We seem to leave the 
solar system far behind us, and to invade a new 
universe as we lean against these beaten bulwarks 
and give ourselves to retrospection. And here, at 
least, there are no more worlds to conquer. Here, 
at any rate, progress has reached finality. There 
are no more poles ! None ! It is so very rarely that 
we can cry Ne plus ultra! that we must enjoy the 
sensation when we can. Peary and Amundsen 
hold a distinct monopoly. They are entitled to 
make the most of it. The magnificent achievement 
of Captain Amundsen has set us all thinking of 
Arctic and Antarctic exploits. We have been trans- 
ported in fancy to those lofty and jagged ranges 
of mountainous ice that have been the despair of 
adventurers since exploration began. We have 
shivered in imagination as we have caught glimpses 
of innumerable ice-floes and of stretching plains of 
frozen snow. Of Captain Amundsen's success in 
the south we know only the bare fact. His book, 
with graphic detail and description, is a treat with 
which the future tantalizes us. 

But Amundsen has reminded us of Peary, and 
we have picked up the Commander's book once 
more. He tells a great tale. It is good to see that 
the world cannot withhold its sounding applause 
from the man who knows exactly where he wants 

226 The Luggage of Life 

to go, and who never dreams of resting till he 
gets there. Peary's book is a classic of excellent 
leadership. Nansen told us long ago that the 
obstacles that intervened between civilization and 
the Pole, terrific as they were, were too frail for 
the dogged and indomitable determination of Peary. 
That prediction has been magnificently vindicated. 
Commander Peary has taught us that the really 
successful man is the man who knows how to keep 
on failing. Failure is life's high art. He who 
knows how to fail well will sweep everything before 
him. Peary kept on failing till the silver crept into 
his hair; and then, when well over fifty years of 
age, on stepping-stones of his dead self, he climbed 
to higher things. Through what Disraeli would 
have called 'the hell of failure/ he entered the 
heaven of his triumph. 

It is ever so. The kingdom of heaven suffereth 
violence, and the persistent take it by storm. The 
conqueror is, as Wellington said, the man who never 
knows when he is beaten. The dust of defeat stings 
the face of the victor at every step of his onward 
march. 'The arms of the Republic/ writes Gibbon, 
'often defeated in battle, were always successful in 
war.' 'As for Gad/ exclaimed the dying Jacob, 
'a troop shall overcome him, but he shall overcome 
at the last/ The Cross is the last word in the grim 

The Conquest of the Poles 227 

record of the world's most ghastly failures; it is at 
the same time the emblem of a victory which shall 
shame our most radiant dreams. Those whose ears 
have never heard a paean, and whose brows have 
never felt the laurel, should ponder well this great 
romance of Arctic exploration. When God writes 
Success on any man's life He often begins to spell 
it with an '.' 

Commander Peary tabulates his difficulties. 
Speaking generally, these coincided with Amund- 
sen's, and they were three : ( i ) there was the diffi- 
culty, sometimes almost insuperable, of conveying 
heavy baggage over steep, ragged, slippery moun- 
tains of ice; (2) there was the difficulty presented 
by the piercing, penetrating, paralysing cold; (3) 
and there was the difficulty of the dense, depressing 
darkness the long polar night. In relation to the 
first of these, however, we must confess that the 
thought that has haunted us, as we have followed 
our intrepid voyager, is that, really and truly, these 
were not the things that deterred, but the things that 
drove him. Their propelling power was infinitely 
greater than their repelling power. It is quite cer- 
tain that if the Poles could have been reached in a 
sumptuous Pullman car, neither Peary nor Amund- 
sen would have made the trip. It was the stupend- 
ous difficulty that lured them on. 

228 The Luggage of Life 

We make an egregious blunder when we try to 

persuade men that the way to heaven is easy. The 
statement is false to fact in the first place; and, in 
the second, there is no responsive chord in human 
nature which will vibrate to that ignoble note. 
Hardship has a strange fascination for men. 
Pizarro knew what he was doing when he traced his 
line on the sands of Panama, and cried: "Com- 
rades, on that side of the line are toil, hunger, naked- 
ness, and drenching storm, desertion, and death ; on 
this side ease and pleasure. Choose, every man! 
For my part, I go to the south.' Garibaldi knew 
what he was doing when he exclaimed : 'Soldiers, 
what I offer you is fatigue, danger, struggle, and 
death; the chill of the cold night in the free air; the 
intolerable heat beneath the blazing sun ; no lodgings, 
no munitions, no provisions, but forced marches, 
perilous watch-posts, and the continual struggle 
with the bayonet against strong batteries. Those 
who love freedom and their country may follow me.' 
Men love to be challenged and taunted and 
dared. Six thousand men eagerly volunteered to 
join Captain Scott's expedition to the South Pole. 
Some holding high and remunerative positions 
craved to be permitted to swab the decks of the 
Terra Nova. A captain in a crack cavalry regiment, 
with five clasps on his uniform, a hero of the South 

The Conquest of the Poles 229 

African war, counted it an honour to perform the 
most menial duties at a salary of a shilling a month. 
Yes, Pizarro and Garibaldi, Peary and Scott knew 
what they were doing. They were obeying the 
surest instinct in the genius of leadership; for they 
were following Him who said : 'If any man will 
come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up 
his cross daily, and follow Me; for whosoever shall 
save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose 
his life for My sake, the same shall save it.' On 
the road to Golgotha, the Saviour challenged the 
daring among men, and the heroes of all the ages 
have in consequence trooped to His standard. 

But the colossal obstacles have often to be sur- 
mounted, Peary tells us, in the cruel cold and the 
dense darkness. And such cold! It is surely an 
allegory. Many a man feels that the task assigned 
him would be difficult enough in itself; but, in 
the chilling and disheartening atmosphere in which 
he has to perform it, it seems impossible. Bad 
enough, thought Benaiah, to fight a lion; but a 
lion in a pit ! And a lion in a pit on a snowy day ! 
Hard enough to persevere in well-doing when in- 
spired by sweet whispers of gratitude, and cheered 
by the warm breath of sympathy. But misunder- 
stood and unappreciated! There are millions who 
have discovered, with Peary, that life's heaviest 

230 The Luggage of Life 

loads have to be borne in the most nipping and 
frigid atmosphere. 

And the darkness ! Nobody knows what darkness 
is, Peary tells us, unless he has experienced an 
Arctic night. Week after week, with no illuming 
ray, the blackness seems to soak into one's very 
soul. But here our explorer is mistaken. There 
are many who have never been within thousands 
of miles of the Pole who nevertheless take up every 
morning their heavy burdens and bear them through 
an atmosphere more chilling than that of Arctic 
latitudes, and amidst darkness compared with which 
an Arctic night is brilliant. For there is no gloom 
like the petrifying gloom of mystery. The sorrows 
of all time reached their climax in the Man of 
Sorrows ; and the anguish of the Christ reached its 
climax on the cross. And in the awful heart of 
that anguish there was darkness; and out from 
the darkness emerged the expression of eternal 
mystery, 'My God, My God, why hast Thou for- 
saken me ?' The horror of the ages is concentrated 
in that fearful 'Why?' And with an unanswered 
'Why?' upon his dumb lips, many a Christian 
follows his Lord in the dark. 

I have said that Peary's book is a classic of 
distinguished leadership. This reminds me of the 
finest thing in the volume. The explorer makes 

The Conquest of the Poles 231 

a noble boast. In the course of his life he has led 
hundreds of men among Arctic foxes and Polar 
bears. And, save for shipping accidents that might 
have happened in any zone, he has brought them 
all safely back. There could be no more eloquent 
testimony to his shrewd foresight, his unfailing 
diligence, and his almost fond unselfishness, than 
that. Of nothing is he more proud. But Peary's 
leadership is modelled on a greater. What though 
at times the burdens of life seem crushing? What 
though the atmosphere seem paralysing? What 
though the darkness seem appalling? He leads 
on. He has felt the darkness and the cold. The 
responsibility is, after all, in the last resort, upon 
the leader. And, with unerring wisdom and beau- 
tiful accuracy of judgment, He picks out the peril- 
ous path and apportions the difficult tasks to the 
well-known potentialities of His followers. 'Of 
those whom Thou hast given Me/ He says, 'I have 
lost none.' Commander Peary's great book has 
taught us that the wise leader sets an infinite value 
on the welfare of his most lowly follower; and that 
every task is allotted in the light of that lofty esti- 


I HAVE been reading a pretty tale of a wee lassie, 
who, on bounding in from school, exclaimed that she 
had learned to punctuate. 'Indeed!' exclaimed her 
mother, 'and how do you do it, Elsie?' 'Well, 
mamma/ cried the excited little grammarian, 'it's 
just as easy as easy can be! If you say that a thing 
is so, you just put a hat-pin after it; but if you are 
only asking whether it is so or not, you put a button- 
hook !' 

On thinking it over, we have reached the deliber- 
ate conclusion that there is a world of sound phil- 
osophy about the little lassie's explanation. All life 
resolves itself, sooner or later, into a matter of hat- 
pins and button-hooks. If we were to hold a kind 
of mental spring-cleaning, turning out all the 
drawers of memory and cupboards of thought; if 
we were to sort out all our notions and ideas, our 
doctrines and our theories; if we were to overhaul 
our entire intellectual and moral equipment, we 
should discover with surprise that the great bulk of 


Hat-Pins and Button-Hooks 233 

it all could be sharply divided under these two heads 
our affirmations and our interrogations; the 
things of which we are positive, and the things of 
which we are doubtful ; the matters on which we are 
dogmatic and the matters on which we are dubious. 
The soul has a stock-in-trade of its own ; and on its 
shelves are to be found the goods that it has bought 
outright and the goods of which it has accepted 
delivery on probation. We carry these two classes 
of stores our certainties and our suspicions 
these and no others. Our cupboards are crammed, 
that is to say, with hat-pins and with button-hooks. 

It is in these two classes of goods that the churches 
do their main business. The Church makes great 
affirmations, and she propounds great interroga- 
tions. She declares confidently : We know whom we 
have believed! We know that all things work to- 
gether for good! We know that, if our earthly 
house were destroyed, we have a house not made 
with hands, eternal in the heavens ! She asks great 
questions too: What shall it profit a man? How 
shall we escape if we neglect? What shall the end 
be of those that obey not the gospel? Surely the 
pulpit is of all places the natural home of stupend- 
ous affirmation and searching interrogation. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes rushes to the memory at 
once. ' "I will agree," said Number Seven, "to write 

234 The Luggage of Life 

the history of two worlds, this and the next, in such 
a compact way that you can commit them both to 
memory in less time than you can learn the answer 
to the first question in the catechism." He took 
a blank card from his pocket-book, and wrote : 

' "Two worlds ! Endless doubt and unrest here 
below; wondering, admiring, adoring certainty 
above. Am I not right?" It was conceded that he 
was right. It conies to this. The story of two 
worlds can be set forth by a single hat-pin and a 
single button-hook. 

Hat-pins and button-hooks are both very good in 
their way, and for their proper purposes. We have 
heard of hat-pins being used with vicious intent at 
football matches and in street riots, just as we have 
heard men speak with certainty where they would 
have been wiser to have spoken with caution. They 
were cock-sure; but time has shown that they were 
wrong. It was an abuse of the hat-pin, that was all. 
'Have your beliefs/ says an old writer, 'and have 
your doubts. Believe your beliefs, and doubt your 
doubts. Never doubt your beliefs, and never believe 

Hat-Pins and Button-Hooks 235 

your doubts.' It is a quaint way of saying that 
the hat-pin and the button-hook must be kept, each 
in its proper place, and must be used, each for its 
proper purpose. 

In a magnificent lecture delivered to students 
not long before his death, Dr. John Watson urged 
the importance of this very thing. There are certain 
matters, he contended, on which the preacher can 
be absolutely positive the facts of Revelation, of 
the Deity of the Son of God, of Sin, of Redemp- 
tion, and of the power of the Holy Ghost. Round 
these splendid facts, he demonstrated, there revolved 
a thousand theories. Between these things he en- 
treated the students to distinguish clearly. 'The 
facts/ he said, 'should be declared in faith with 
much assurance; the theories should be advanced as 
contributing light with diffidence.' 

The button-hook, like the hat-pin, is a most useful 
article in its own way. It is a good thing to ask 
questions. It was the occupation of the child Jesus 
in the midst of the doctors. Towards the close of 
his life Dr. Thomas Guthrie wrote a beautiful letter 
to his daughter congratulating her on her first ap- 
proach to the table of the Lord. The letter simply 
overflows with intense affection and fatherly coun- 
sel. And it contains this pertinent passage: 'I saw 
an adage yesterday, in a medical magazine, which is 

236 The Luggage of Life 

well worth your remembering and acting on. It is 
this wise saying of the great Lord Bacon's: WHO 
ASKS MUCH, LEARNS MUCH. I remember the day 
when I did not like, by asking, to confess my igno- 
rance. I have long given up that, and now seize on 
every opportunity of adding to my stock of knowl- 
edge. Now don't forget Lord Bacon's wise saying !' 

There are only two men in the whole wide world 
who can ask questions effectively. There is the 
man who does not know, and wants to learn; and 
there is the man who does know, and wants to 
teach. Of the former, Alexander the Great is the 
classical illustration; among the latter, Socrates 
stands supreme. We all remember the great passage 
in Plutarch, in which the rise of Alexander is largely 
attributed to his endless facility for asking sagacious 
questions. When Frank Buckland, the delightful 
naturalist, was in his fourth year, his mother wrote 
of him: 'He is always asking questions. If there 
is anything he cannot understand, he won't go on 
till it has been explained to him. There is no end 
to his questions.' And Dr. Culross, in his exquisite 
monogram of Carey, tells us how the 'sensible lad 
in the leather apron' attracted the notice of Dr. Scott, 
the commentator, by his 'modest asking of appro- 
priate questions.' 

The place of the button-hook is permanent. So 

Hat-Pins and Button-Hooks 237 

long as life throbs with mystery the place of the 
interrogation is assured. The baby asks questions 
as soon as he can prattle. 

Why, muvver, why 

Was those poor blackbirds all baked in a pie ? 
And why did the cow jump right over the moon? 
And why did the dish run away with the spoon? 
And why must we wait for our wings till we die ? 
Why, muvver, why? 

And death comes at last, and finds us still asking the 
old questions : 


This is the cry 

That echoes through the wilderness of earth, 
Through song and sorrow, day of death and birth : 



It is the high 

Wail of the child with all his life to face ; 
Man's last dumb question as he reaches space : 


The comfort about it all is that the really big 
things of life are represented by hat-pins, and only 
the things that can afford to wait by button-hooks. 
Dr. Dale used to illustrate this by a reference to 
the pillars beside his pulpit. 'It appears to you/ 
he would say to the congregation at Carr's Lane, 

238 The Luggage of Life 

'that these pillars support this arch above my head. 
They do nothing of the kind. If you could stand 
where I stand, you would see that they have been 
cut through to make room for this rostrum, and 
they actually hang upon the arch which they seem 
to support.' In like fashion, our faith seems at 
times to depend upon the theories and evidences 
concerning which we ask our questions. In point 
of fact, it does nothing of the kind. If all our 
theories and evidences were cut through like the 
pillars, our faith would still stand securely like the 
arch. Our certainties infinitely outnumber and 
outweigh our speculations. We know. The soul 
plants her feet on a sure refuge of her own. Pro- 
fessor Forsyth rightly argues that to the individual 
consciousness there can be no stronger witness than 
its own experience of the love of God, of the merits 
of the Saviour's Cross, and of the efficacy of His 
risen power. These the soul takes into stock, not on 
approbation, but for ever and for all. She buys 
these truths and sells them not. The Christian 
gospel holds for the believer stupendous and satis- 
fying certainties; and, amidst these affirmations, 
secure from all interrogations, the heart loves to 
build its nest 



THE brow of the hill has a divinity of its own. There 
is something distinctly spiritual, as well as some- 
thing distinctly sublime, about a summit. That is 
why the heathen loved to build their altars there. 
How often, in the historical books of the Old Testa- 
ment, we are told that the idolatrous people erected 
their shrines and raised their images on the high 
hills about Jerusalem ! How the Aztecs delighted in 
rearing their strange temples, shaped like pyramids, 
on the loftiest peaks of Mexico, with the altar on the 
topmost pinnacle of the temple ! And the same sure 
instinct has led men to lay their bones to rest on 
the brow of the hill. They wearily sought its silent 
and solemn sanctity at the last ! We have all visited, 
at least in fancy, the resting-place of Robert Louis 
Stevenson. 'Nothing more picturesque can be im- 
agined,' his cousin tells us, 'than the narrow ledge 
that forms the summit of Vaea, a place no wider 
than a room, and flat as a table. On either side the 


240 The Luggage of Life 

land descends precipitously; in front lies the vast 
ocean with the surf-swept reefs; to the right and 
left green mountains rise, densely covered with the 
primaeval forest.' No firearms must be discharged 
about those slopes. The chiefs insist that the birds 
must be undisturbed, that they 'may raise about his 
grave the songs he loved so well.' I saw the other 
day a striking picture of Cecil Rhodes's lonely grave 
on the crest of the mighty Matoppos in Africa. 
Two lions from the valley beneath are standing on 
the great flat tomb, and seem in harmony with the 
wild, romantic place. 

But I no longer hold the attention of my readers. 
Their thoughts have left Robert Louis Stevenson 
and Cecil Rhodes far behind, and have visited the 
strange, lone resting-place of Moses among the 
mountains of Moab. 

That was the grandest funeral 

That ever passed on earth ; 
But no man heard the trampling, 

Or saw the train go forth. 
Perchance the bald old eagle 

On grey Beth-peor's height, 
Out of his rocky eyrie 

Looked on the wondrous sight. 

And Browning has expressed the same fondness 
for a mountain burial in his 'Grammarian's Funeral.' 

The Brow of the Hill 241 

Here's the top peak; the multitude below 

Live, for they can, there : 
This man decided not to live but know 

Bury this man there? 
Here here's his place, where meteors shoot, clouds form, 

Lightnings are loosened, 
Stars come and go! Let joy break with the storm! 

Peace let the dew send ! 
Lofty designs must close in like effects: 

Loftily lying, 
Leave him still loftier than the world suspects, 

Living and dying. 

Now I have simply pointed to these altars and 
monuments that deck the hill-tops of the world in 
order to prove that there exists, in the very blood 
of the race, an instinctive reverence for the brow 
of the hill. We feel that summits are sacred. 
Why? That is the question. Let us investigate. 

Now, in attempting a solution of this alluring 
mystery, I must call to my aid two gentlemen 
of rare insight and of profound scholarship 
Professor George Adam Smith and Mr. A. C. 
Benson. In treating of the I2ist Psalm the learned 
Principal says: 'To the psalmist the mountains 
spread a threshold for a divine arrival. Up there 
God Himself may be felt to be afoot. Whether 
we climb them, or gaze at them, the mountains 
produce in us that mingling of moral and physical 
emotion in which the temper of true worship 

242 The Luggage of Life 

consists.' So much for the Principal. Now for the 
schoolmaster. 'It is good,' writes Mr. Benson, in 
one of his delightful essays, 'it is good for the body 
to climb the steep slopes and breathe the pure air; 
it is good for the mind to see the map of the coun- 
try fairly unrolled before the eye; and it is good 
for the soul, too, to see the world lie extended at 
one's feet How difficult it is to analyze the vague 
and poignant emotions which then and thus arise !' 
*A hill-top,' remarks another writer, 'is a moral as 
well as a physical elevation.' 

Now it is as clear as clear can be that the hunger 
of our hearts for the hills is only a part of the 
hunger of our hearts for the infinite. The instinct 
of the far horizon is indelibly engraven in our very 
nature. Go where you will, visit what city you like, 
and you will straightway be taken to some noble and 
commanding eminence to see the view. Surely this 
phenomenon requires some explanation. Even the 
most intelligent of the lower animals betray no love 
for the landscape. They know nothing of the pas- 
sion of the far horizon. I have often ascended 
Mount Wellington, at Hobart, and gazed entranced 
upon the magnificent panorama of land and sea 
that unrolls itself, in altogether indescribable 
grandeur, at one's feet. The prospect is almost over- 
powering. But I have noticed repeatedly that, 

The Brow of the Hill 243 

whilst every member of the party turns in ecstasy to 
admire so glorious a landscape, the horses and dogs 
man's most intelligent and sagacious companions 
have deliberately turned their backs upon the mag- 
nificent landscape, to forage for food on the bushy 
slopes near by. The different behaviour of the men 
and the animals is much more than a matter of 
degree. It is a contrast in kind. It is a direct line 
of cleavage. It is arresting and inviting. 

In one of his most captivating and suggestive 
passages, Mark Rutherford, in his Revolution in 
Tanner's Lane, tells how the boys of the tiny hamlet 
of Cowfold would, on a holiday, trudge the three 
dusty miles down the lane from the village to the 
main coach road, and back again, just for the rapture 
of reading the wondrous words 'TO LONDON/ 'TO 
YORK/ on the finger-post at the end of the lane. 
The romance of the mysterious fingers pointing 
mutely down the winding road along which the 
coaches rattled on their way to the great capitals, 
was 'an opening into infinity/ to use Mark Ruther- 
ford's words, to the boys of Cowfold. It was the 
next best thing to a mountain peak. It is so with 
every boy. The instinct of the far horizon burns 
within him. He reads Jules Verne and R. M. 
Ballantyne, Captain Marryat and Captain Mayne 
Reid, G. A. Henty and Gordon Stables. These are 

244 The Luggage of Life 

his classics. He glories in boundless plains and 
impenetrable jungles; in pathless prairies and endless 
snows; in trackless deserts and illimitable oceans. 
He revels in a limitless landscape. His fertile fancy 
converts every hencoop and dog-kennel into a wig- 
wam or a kraal, every paddock into a prairie, every 
terrier into a tiger, and the boys of every neighbour- 
ing school into a fierce and hostile tribe. He is 
always on an imaginary hill-top, looking out upon 
the four corners of the earth. He loathes the 
intimate and loves the infinite. There is evidently 
some subtle and mysterious ingredient in his 
composition that is totally absent in the make-up 
of your noblest horses and your finest dogs. The 
passion of the wide horizon, the instinct of the 
infinite, the spirit of the summit, tingles in his very 

Yet, after all, it must be sorrowfully confessed 
that the hill-tops never really satisfy. The horizon 
is always small, the landscape limited. We look out 
to sea, and we wonder what ships are sailing out 
there beyond the skyline; we gaze across the 
land, and we wonder what lies beyond the distant 

The peak is high, and flushed 

At its highest with sunrise fire; 
The peak is high and the stars are high, 

But the thought of man is higher. 

The Brow of the Hill 245 

Yet be quite sure that the hunger that the high- 
est peak leaves unsatisfied is no mockery. It is 
to appease it that the churches live. For there is 
another hill-top. 'Then said the Shepherds one to 
another, "Let us here show to the pilgrims the gates 
of the Celestial City." The pilgrims then lovingly 
accepted the motion. So they had them to the top 
of a high hill, called Clear, and gave them their 
glass to look. And they saw some of the glory of 
the place. Then they went away and sang this song : 

"Thus by the Shepherds secrets are revealed, 

Which from all other men are kept concealed : 
Come to the Shepherds then, if you would see 
Things deep, things hid, and that mysterious be." ' 

Let all the Shepherds of all the flocks take note. 
The hunger for the hilltop is a very real and a very 
beautiful thing. It is not satisfied by rearing altars 
there. It is not appeased by planning, like Steven- 
son and Rhodes, to lie in stately silence there. 
There is no mountain-peak among earth's loftiest 
ranges high enough to gratify the cravings of a 
single soul. The view is so restricted. Men are 
hungry for the wealthier vision that is to be seen 
from the summit of the hill called Clear; and it is 
for the Shepherds to take these wistful pilgrims 


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